BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 29, 2019– The National Amateur Women’s League (NAWL) home-and-away Quarterfinals kicked off with 1st leg encounters over the weekend, where the top 4 teams from the North were matched against the top 4 teams from the South group. North seed #1 (N#1) was matched against South seed #4 (S#4); N#2 vs S#3; N#3 vs S#2; and N#4 vs S#1.
Two 1st leg games were played on Saturday, April 27, and 2 on Sunday, April 28.
On Saturday at the MCC Grounds, Belize City’s Black Orchid took an early lead through a long free kick from Shanell Gentle (3’) that caught Rumberas’ goalkeeper Julie Ramirez out of her goal; but the visitors settled down and replied with 3 goals, from Ashley Rodriguez (18’) and Jessica Lopez (45’ & 74’), before Black Orchid closed the gap with another goal from Nykemah Kuylen (77’). But that’s how it ended, Rumberas, 3-2, over Black Orchid. Meanwhile, at the M.A. Stadium in Independence, the visitors were also victorious, as Jamilet Alarcon struck twice (34’ & 62’) to give Verdes Rebels the 2-0 win over Altitude of Independence.
On Sunday, down south at the Victor Sanchez Union Field in Punta Gorda, visiting Gladiators were taking no prisoners, as their star striker, Kaite Jones blasted 7 goals (3’, 4’, 30’, 44’, 67’, 77’ & 94’) along with 2 from Gianni Gomez (6’ & 41’) and 1 each from Janellie Chan (61’) and Mayte Aragon (64’); while home standing Ladies Freedom Fighters could only answer with a goal apiece from Patricia Ical (28’) and Jaylee Lambey (75’). Gladiators, 11-2, over Freedom Fighters. The visitors also prevailed up north at the Ricalde Stadium, where Belmopan’s Jewel Fury Bandits dropped Corozal Scorpions, 5-0, with goals from Fatima Romero (5’ & 8’), Zandra Whittaker (14’), Suswani Martinez (30’) and Jada Brown (39’).
With Sunday’s lopsided scores, those two quarterfinals are like “money in the bank;” but the situation is not as clear cut with the teams from Saturday’s games.
Decisive 2nd leg quarterfinal games:
Saturday, May 4
3:00 p.m. – (Series C) S#2 Rumberas vs N#3 Black Orchid – M.A. Stadium
4:30 p.m. – (Series B) S#1 Jewel Fury Bandits vs N#4 Corozal Scorpions – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Sunday, May 5
1:00 p.m. – (Series D) N#2 Verdes Rebels vs S#3 Altitude – Norman Broaster Stadium
3:00 p.m. – (Series A) N#1 Gladiators vs S#4 Ladies Freedom Fighters – People’s Stadium
Just to clarify how the match-ups are projected according to the official season and playoff schedule: In the semifinals the following week, it will be the winners from Series B and Series C clashing; while the winners from Series A and Series D will tangle.
These playoffs are getting really interesting. Will the two leading “goleadores,” Fatima Romero of Jewel Fury Bandits and Kaite Jones of Gladiators get to meet in the finals? That’s looking a bit far ahead; first we have to finish the quarterfinals, and then there are some serious semifinal battles to consider.