No rocky road for Papalia’s girls

September 12, 2017

Hattrick Hero: Shepparton United's Sophie Papalia scored three goals on Sunday to help her side secure the Championship.

Shepparton United has claimed the women’s championship after winning on a dramatic final day.

Rocky Papalia’s side capped a stunning campaign, winning 6-2 at home to Spring Gully.

Caitlin Georgiou, Sophie Papalia, Megan McFarland and Sarah Loverso all found the back of the net in an encounter that United needed to win.

Following the completion of the regular season, Papalia’s side finished three points clear of second-placed Epsom, losing only one game this season.

Remarkably, United shipped only six goals all season, in which two of those came on Sunday.

Papalia was in awe of his side’s performance this campaign, however, the job is not done yet according to the experienced manager.

‘‘I am really proud of the girls, it is a fantastic achievement and they have been rewarded for all their efforts this season,’’ Papalia said.

‘‘We have achieved our goal, but now finals are here and that is another season within itself.’’

United had all but secured the championship at half-time when the Blues led 4-1.

Georgiou opened the scoring inside four minutes for United, while in a 15-minute period the coach’s daughter’s 26th, 27th and 28th goals of the season ensured Papalia could rest a little easier in the second half.

The flood gates had not closed after the break with McFarland adding her first, before Loverso soon after scored the sealer sending her side into raptures.

‘‘We sort of knew it was over, but we needed to keep on going, it was the last half of the season and we couldn’t let it slip,’’ Papalia said.

‘‘But when we went 6-1 up the girls really started playing with freedom and enjoying themselves out there.’’

With a scheduled break in place, United will now play Epsom in the first final and Papalia believes nothing will change during the week off.

’’You don’t change what has been working for you,’’ he said.

‘‘We will continue to do the same thing that we have been doing all season and I feel that has put us in the best position.’’

Shepparton South will also feature in the League Cup despite losing to Eaglehawk 2-1.

Uwe Paffrath’s women found themselves trailing by two goals after the hour, and with just 20 minutes to go Lucinda Murdoch found the back of the net.

Unfortunately for the Southerners, despite a late push, they could not manage to rescue a point.

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