Scholars International women play the mighty Sunset in the FA Cup final next week and are confident that even as underdogs they can overcome the unbeaten side that has already won the President’s Cup and sewn up the league title well in advance.
Sunset want to seal their season with a perfect record and all three trophies but Scholars have other ideas.
Sunset are a mix of expats and Caymanians, many of whom have been playing for years at a high level, whereas Scholars field mostly inexperienced teenagers. Full of the flush of youth, the West Bay side believe they can cause an upset at the TE McField Annex on May 10.
Lucille Parchment is the Scholars International women’s team manager. She acknowledges that Sunset have beaten them in recent games, but by small margins and there have been draws. Scholars believe they can close the gap in the FA Cup final.
“Yes, we’re the underdogs but that has given us a little extra push,” Parchment said. “We haven’t stopped training all season and we’re going to continue training harder.”
She added that they have some key players studying overseas who will be bolster Scholars for the big game, including star midfielder Jetena Bodden.
Other key players are the captain Kaela Ebanks, Tatiana Ramoon, Arie Smith and Susani McLaughlin and top scorer Kim Salgado.
Parchment thinks that Sunset’s edge in experience is the telling factor. “It’s their tactics, I don’t think it’s speed or fitness,” she said. “We know that they have some experienced players but I don’t think age has too much to do with it because we have some very skilful players too.”
Nevertheless, Sunset dominate the league’s four teams and Scholars have lost six league games this season. They sit third in the table behind Sunset and Elite with only Future below them.
In the cup final, Scholars keeper Kristina Seymour is bound to have a busy time. “Kristina is having a good season, especially after the Women’s Under-20 CONCACAF tournament here in January,” Parchment said. “The experience and exposure from that has built her confidence even more. She is easily one of the best female keepers in the league.”
Scholars played another West Bay side, Future Sports Club, at the Annex on Saturday in the league and drew 0-0. Despite no goals, there was plenty of end-to-end action as the local rivalry brought out the best in both.
Future’s Janel Ebanks, one of the most skilful players in the women’s game, gave Scholars all kind of problems in midfield.
Chelsea Ayala, a reliable right back, had a solid game against Future. “Her calm disposition and quick thinking have provided the much needed balance in the defense this season,” Parchment said.
Susani Lucas-Mclaughlin showed flashes of brilliance against Future, belying the fact that, at 15, she is the team’s youngest member.
Parchment said, “Susani is new to the squad this season, but settled in quickly. She has a very high work rate and has been a constant threat to the opponents’ goal. She is quick and strong.”