Solent Ladies have won the BUCS Western 1A League after beating USW Pontypridd & Cardiff 5-1 at Test Park.
Goals from birthday girl Hannah McKenzie, Tasha Kenny and Katrine Saeter helped Solent to win a BUCS league title for the second time in as many years.
The team won promotion to the Western 1A League after they won the 2A League last season, and remained unbeaten so far this season to be crowned league champions and to remain in the Conference Cup.
The team now have 24 points from 8 wins in 9 games, leaving them four points ahead of the Cardiff Met 2nd’s with just one fixture remaining in the league.
Pitch Captain Emma Pinner explained how the team were feeling after the game.
“We are ecstatic.” Pinner said. “We really showed people this year what we are made of and that we have the fight to be champions twice in two years.”
“We started the match as we have started every BUCS league game, with confidence and aggression.” Pinner continued. “We didn’t allow them to play the ball at all and we continued to get chances in and around the box from the off.”
Team photo celebrating the win on Twitter
“We held most of the possession, and were moving the ball confidently from left to right from defence and midfield.”
Three of Solent’s five goals came in the second half and Pinner said that the team had “settled down”, allowing them to gain a “healthy lead”.
Pinner also felt that the team had now settled back into the way they normally play football, after a tough couple of months in which the team has been plagued by injuries from the beginning. Combined with an equally tough season in the Hampshire Division One on a Sunday has put some big pressure on the team.
“Obviously winning the league has been the aim from the beginning.” Pinner stated. “I do however believe we still have more to prove.”
“We have a game remaining in the league, that I hope we can win to remain undefeated, and we are still in a cup run. It’s a proud moment to win the league but I know this team, and we won’t stop for a second until we have nothing else to fight for.”
Top goalscorer Tasha Kenny also commented on the win. “Everyone was so happy at the end, which was really good to see.”
“Things haven’t exactly been going our way at the moment so to go and win in such a good way was brilliant for the team.” Kenny said. “It was a really good game, we played some really good football in the first half, passing the ball around a lot and deserved the lead at half time.”
Solent won both the BUCS 2A League and Conference Cup in 2014 (pictured), and will be hoping to do the same this season.
The Solent striker continued by praising her team-mates efforts. “We then managed to score another 3 goals in the second half, and didn’t let them back in the game at all. It was a really great performance from everyone.”
It was Kenny who scored Solent’s all important third goal to give them a two goal cushion against USW Pontypridd, effectively killing off the game and edging Solent that little bit closer to the title. However, Solent’s top scorer revealed she had been “terrified” as she went through on goal.
“It’s funny because it was a one on one situation with the goalkeeper, and my track record of one on one’s isn’t the best, so I was terrified!” Kenny revealed. “It felt like it took forever to make the run and put the ball in the back of the net! It was a relief when it finally went in though.”
Kenny also added that winning the league before they play their toughest match away to second placed Cardiff Mets has taken a lot of pressure off the teams shoulders and that they can now go and enjoy their football in the final match of the season.
The league win gained plenty of attention outside of the University as well, with plenty of former managers and players, along with friends and family, keeping an eye on the crucial game at Test Park, many following through the teams updates on Twitter.
Former co-manager Mark Savvides spoke to South Coast Journalism after the game yesterday afternoon, and he revealed that he was not just delighted for the team, but for BUCS Manager Chris Wheeler, who Savvides worked alongside last season.
“I am absolutely delighted for not only the team but Manager Chris Wheeler.” Savvides revealed. “He deserves as much credit as the players do. He’s been working with Solent Ladies for many years now and he’s reaping the rewards for building a very strong and competitive squad.”
Savvides continued: “He has one of the best rotation policies I’ve seen from a coach which enables high morale as each and every player who is a part of his squad gets substantial game time. Therefore, this increases their ability and confidence to go on and win back to back league titles.”
Savvides continued by revealing that he had expected Solent to win the Hampshire Division One title but that the team would struggle in the higher BUCS league. He praised the team and said that they deserved to continue winning trophies.
“As for the players, I expected them to easily go on and win the league on a Sunday but I genuinely thought they would struggle on a Wednesday (BUCS League).” Savvides explained. “This thought was due to tougher opposition but they’ve managed to stay together and come away from the season top of the league again.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The ability in that squad is absolutely superb and I’m glad to see them continue winning things as it’s exactly what they deserve.” Savvides concluded.
Savvides (right) praised BUCS manager Chris Wheeler (left) after he steered Solent to another title.
Solent Ladies will be at home again next Wednesday as Test Park hosts the team’s BUCS Cup match against the UWE, before they travel to Cardiff for the final league game of the season.
In the Hampshire Women’s League, Solent have one more match scheduled on the 22nd of February, again to be hosted at Test Park.