MANILA -- De La Salle University is once again back on top of the UAAP women's football mountain.
The Lady Archers bested University of Santo Tomas (UST), 3-1, in the final match Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium to not only take home the gold, but also complete their perfect season.
No draws, no losses, just wins. Nine victories in nine matches in Season 79.
The ninth win didn't come easily, however, as things were tight heading into the mid-game break with neither side managing to get on the board.
The first goal of the match wouldn't come until the 56th minute, when Lady Archers leading scorer Kyra Dimaandal shook off UST keeper Nicole Reyes and blasted the ball through an open net for the 1-0 advantage.
It didn't take too long for UST to respond, however, as the Tigresses pulled even courtesy of a fantastic finish from Hazel Lustan.
The Lady Archers made sure that there would be no more extra time as national team member Sara Castañeda received a perfectly placed cross from Irish Navaja and fired for the lead in the 89th minute.
In injury time, a UST foul led to a DLSU penalty, and in what appeared to be a fitting send-off for senior keeper Inna Palacios, she was tasked to take the penalty shot, which she sank to seal the win and the championship for the Lady Archers.
"There's no other team that deserves the championship this year," said DLSU head coach Hans-Peter Smit, who added that throughout the season, they had battled injuries. "I'm not downplaying all the other teams. What I'm saying is, I say they deserve it because we were never complete this year."
"They were very receptive this whole year. They did what they were asked to do, they trained really hard. They deserve it," Smit added.
The Lady Archers won their ninth women's football title, and their first since UAAP Season 72.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.