Calder United has laid down an early marker in National Premier League Victoria women’s competition.

In a three-week span, Calder has comprehensively beaten three sides tipped to be challenging for the title at the end of the season.

Following its win over reigning NPL champions FC Bulleen Lions in the community shield and victory over traditional contender Alamein in the season opener, Calder brought down premiers plate holder South Melbourne in a 3-0 second-round smashing at Keilor Park Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

Calder coach Mark Torcaso could not have asked for a better start to the season.

“Obviously, all the games were pretty tough, but to score three goals in each of the games against probably three of the best sides in the comp – we’re pretty rapt,” he said.

“Things that we’ve done pre-season we’ve been able to put it all together on the pitch, so it’s a credit to the girls.”

Calder United’s punishing pre-season campaign proved its worth in the dying stages of Saturday’s big win. With temperatures nearing 40C, the Calder players ran the game out better than their opposition.

“We always backed the girls to get through it because I know our fitness levels are pretty good,” Torcaso said.

“We’ve put a lot of miles into the girls’ legs over the pre-season, so it was good for them.

“I was pretty confident we’d be able to over-run them.”

Melissa Taranto was lethal in front of goal for Calder United.

Calder United’s Marie Rampal. Picture Shawn Smits.

Photo Gallery: Calder United vs South Melbourne 

She scored two of her team’s three goals, with second-half substitute Polly Doran adding the third. Taranto’s tireless work in the midfield drew most of the praise from her coach.

“I think her best game is driving forward,” Torcaso said. “She can not only score the goals, but she sets up the play really well.”

“She just battled through the conditions, which was fantastic.”

Catherine Zimmerman was again influential for Calder United in attack.

Aleksandra Sinclair did a power of work on the front line, while captain Emma Robers again set a positive example. There were no weak links for Calder.

Torcaso’s only problem is finding minutes for all his players, such is the depth in the Calder squad.

“We’ve grinded through three tough games and we’ve exposed some of the young ones in those games,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter who we put on the park.”

Calder United is one of three teams undefeated after two rounds.

Calder’s next test will come from second-last Senior NTC at Knox Regional Football Centre on Saturday.

In men’s NPL, it was a weekend of woe for Green Gully Cavaliers and Melbourne Knights, with both of the local sides suffering defeat for the first time this season.

The Cavaliers lost 3-1 to Bentleigh Greens on Friday night, with captain Nick Kalmar’s first-half goal a mere consolation.

The Knights suffered a 2-0 defeat to Heidelberg United on Saturday night.

In NPL 2, St Albans Saints went down 2-1 to North Geelong Warriors, with Jordan Wilkes scoring their lone goal.

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