Cheal is the real deal
ALEX Cheal’s South Melbourne side has written another chapter in the club’s already famous history, winning the Women’s National Premier League Victoria in its first season in the competition.
The Echuca soccer player, the longtime captain of the side, took a penalty in a nerve-wracking shootout after Geelong Galaxy United tied the grand final at 3-3 in extra time.
Cheal calmly slotted her side’s sixth penalty to keep the side in the game, keeper Molly-May Ramsay producing a save from the next spot kick to allow Caitlin Greiser to win the title for her side.
Her fourth championship at the club, Cheal was lost for words describing the pressure of the shootout.
‘‘A penalty shootout is indescribable, no one understands how it feels unless they’ve been a part of one,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s that heart in your mouth feeling, and you’ve got in your mind that it’s for your team, there’s a lot of girls behind you you’re doing it for.
‘‘But at the end of the day, we’re at the elite level and that’s the professionalism, you need to try and step up and be a leader.’’
In another stellar season for defender Cheal, her South Melbourne side only lost twice, winning 21 of 27 regular season games before an exciting run to the premiership.
South needed extra time to beat Calder United in the semi-final, scoring twice in the extra period to take a 4-2 win.
And the grand final was just as dramatic, a penalty shootout required to split the sides. South led 2-0 in the first half and 3-2 in extra time, but couldn’t shake off the Geelong fight.
‘‘For me it was more frustrating than anything,’’ Cheal said.
‘‘To be up 2-0 and dominating for the majority of the game, and then cop a goal for 2-1, you start to panic and it starts to get chaotic.