Calder United has survived the gauntlet for a second year running to emerge with improbable back to back Team App Cup glories.
Under the pump in both the semi-final and final, Calder had to fight back from a goal down in both games to triumph in the most unlikely fashion.
Calder trailed early to Box Hill United in the decider at David Barro Stadium, but went on to score three unanswered goals to win 3-1 in style.
An ecstatic Calder president Eric Psarianos hailed the character of his side.
“Our girls had their backs up against the wall,” he said.
“Box Hill came out to play and our girls just held on and sort of resisted the tidal wave that came their way.
“Then after that, they came out and played some brilliant soccer.”
Calder United’s willingness to blood youngsters into the team is paying dividends.
The Calder rookies were not flustered by the big occasion, nor backed down from the crucial moments across the cut-throat competition.
Sixteen-year-old Polly Doran is a prime example, rescuing Calder with two goals in 10 minutes to set her side on its way to the final with a win over Geelong Galaxy United.
“That’s what is so impressive about it,” Psarianos said.
“For the youngsters, it was a big game, big occasion, pressure, backs against it and they didn’t falter.”
Catherine Zimmerman came away with the Theresa Deas Medal for best-on-field.
Zimmerman scored the equalising goal and then had a major impact on the wing, but it was not a lone hand.
The import was part of a dangerous Calder attacking unit incorporating Angela Beard, Aleksandra Sinclair and Emma Robers.
“She [Zimmerman] keeps getting better,” Psarianos said.
“She’s well supported by the players around her like Angie Beard, who is a very influential player and sets up a lot of the plays, Aleksandra Sinclair, who is also very experienced, and Emma Robers.
“They tore the Box Hill defence to shreds in the second half.”
There was no weak link for Calder.
Rachel Binning had the honour of wearing the captain’s arm band. She was resolute in defence with Marie Rampal and Sarah Lorca.
Calder United’s next mission is to take out the premier’s plate in the Women’s NPL.
Calder had a slight hiccup on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Geelong Galaxy United, but remain in second spot.
In men’s NPL, it was a disappointing weekend for both Green Gully Cavaliers and Melbourne Knights.
The Cavaliers had a 2-0 defeat to Pascoe Vale on Friday night, while the Knights were hammered 5-1 by South Melbourne on Sunday.
It was a similar story for local sides in NPL 2 west with Sunshine George Cross toppled 2-0 by Moreland Zebras and St Albans Saints losing 1-0 to Werribee City.