Alexcia Ali's name will ring long and loud in the Pleasantville community in the coming days, after her hat-trick guided Pleasantville Secondary School to its first Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Coca-Cola National Intercol title, beating Signal Hill Secondary 3-0 in the final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, yesterday.
After a demoralising experience in the final last year in which the school was beaten 8-0 by Bishops, the southerners looked like a renewed team and threatened from the first whistle. Signal Hill's battling effort was hampered only by their inability to convert the chances that came its way.
After a goalless first half, Ali, who was a thorn for the defenders earlier, produced lighting quick speed to pounce on to a left-side cross by Chrissy Mitchell in the 46th minute, and with both defenders and goalkeeper Aaliyah Alvarez was beaten, Ali then fired the ball into an empty net for the lead.
Later, Ali made it 2-0 from a long ball that defender Jelese Alexander struggled to clear and Ali skilfully lobbed the ball over the advancing goalie for the second goal.
The visitors did not give up though but attacks from captain Ashante Campbell, Twinkle Thomas and Gamelia Waldron were thwarted by a sturdy Pleasantville defence.
But their efforts were killed when Ali was released down the right side and her powerful low shot squeezed in although Alvarez got her hands to it.
At the blast of the final whistle, Pleasantville's fans and supporters erupted into wild celebrations to acknowledge the efforts of the girls who had been only on their second final in the Intercol.
However, it was Pleasantville's third title of the season, first being crowned the South Zone champion after playing unbeaten in the six-team competition then coincidentally topped Signal Hill in the Big Five final, 2-0 with Ali and Mitchell scoring that affair.
Ali’s triple seals Pleasantville’s first Intercol Crown.
By Niickolai Madray (Newsday).
ALEXCIA Ali scored a sizzling second half hat-trick over Signal Hill to seal the Shell/First Citizens Bank sponsored Girls Intercol title for Pleasantville Secondary, yesterday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. In the first match of the double header, Ali announced herself on the highest stage of school football by putting on an MVP performance and left the the field to a standing ovation from the spectators.
After a stalemate first half, which ended 0-0, with both sides feeling out their opponents, Ali came out the dressing room determined to leave with the title. Scoring her first goal in the 46th minute, she got on the end of a cross delivered from the left flank by Kayla Maillard and the striker made no mistake in finding the back of the net. Ali added her second item of the game in the 58th minute when she took control of the ball between two defenders before neatly lobbing the goalkeeper. She then completed her hat-trick and secured the victory for P’ville in the 72nd minute by unleashing a powerful shot which stung the hands of Signal Hill’s goal-keeper, Aalyiah Alavrez, before the ball reached into the back of the net. Signal Hill got their opportunities late in the game but Pleasantville showed their resistant defending once more as they rounded off the season by only conceding in one game.
Speaking after the game, the midfielder said, “Usually, when we face tough opponents, the coach uses my speed to penetrate their defence. It is an amazing achievement for the entire team to win this title for our school and community for the first time.” She continued, “It was an honour to score these goals and I hope this encourages other young girls to enjoy the beautiful game.” Pleasantville’s head coach, Joel Maloney, elaborated on the tactical switch he made during the half by detailing, “The team went out there and executed everything to perfection. We found it difficult to unlock Signal Hill in the first half so we made changes in the dressing room to counter what was happening on the field and it worked in our favour. Ali’s hat-trick was the icing on the cake.”
Pleasantville Secondary (4-2-3-1): 1.Akyla Walcott (GK); 14.Curissa Joseph, 7.Latifha Pascall (C), 18.Jhaney Simon, 6.Shawnelle Rose; 4.Shackeme Buntin, 8.Jasandra Joseph; 11.Chrissy Mitchell, 9.Alexcia Ali (16.Celine Hypolite), 5.Corysa Joseph (12.Kayla Garcia); 10.Aaliyah Pascall (19.Kimberley Stewart).
Unused Substitutes: 22.Jerica Brereton (GK), 2.Dalisha Brawthwaite, 15.Ariel Stoute, 13.Amelia Thomas.
Coach: Joel Maloney
Signal Hill Secondary (4-4-1-1); 1.Aaliyah Alvarez (GK); 12.J’nae Harris, 5.Derisha Bristol, 13.Tyra Myers, 4.Jelese Alexander; 18.Twinkle Thomas, 8.Salatina Searles, 10.Gamelia Waldron, 15.Dilleasia Nicholson; 11.Celine Loraine; 17.Ashante Campbell.
Unused Substitutes: 3.Makaila Joseph, 14.Gamie Waldron, 19.Ariel Adams, 20.Kristiana Gibbs.
Coach: Ray Mitchell