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DOLPHINS WILL FACE PANTHERS IN SOCCER FINALS

The ND Royals will miss their first IIAAG girls soccer championship game in the past 10 years at the feet of the Southern Dolphins who narrowly defeated the Royals during their semifinals match Thursday evening while the Guam High Panthers go from eliminated to finalist in 48 hours.

DOLPHINS GET EVEN WITH ROYALS IN SEMIFINALS

By Robert Balajadia

The ND Royals will miss their first IIAAG girls soccer championship game in the past 10 years at the feet of the Southern Dolphins who narrowly defeated the Royals 2-1 during their semifinals match Thursday evening at the GFA Training Facility in Harmon.

Southern was out to settle a score as the Royals defeated the Dolphins during their regular season matchup in shutout fashion.

Trailing 2-0, the ND Royals mounted a great comeback in the final 15 minutes of the game behind forward Destiny Castro. Dolphins’ goalie Lorraina Sanchez was under constant attack from Castro and managed to get nine saves in the clutch, but not before Castro slammed a lead cutting goal with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game.

“Just watching how hard my team was working and seeing the ball come my way I felt a lot of pressure,” said Sanchez in the spurt. “Once we got the ball out of there I knew we were okay. I’m just proud of my team and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

ND put forth a valiant effort but the Dolphin defense managed to hang on and catapult their way to their third straight championship game.

ND Royals' goalie Kristi Stone dives to make one of her 18 saves. (photo by Asha Robles)

ND Royals’ goalie Kristi Stone dives to make one of her 18 saves. (photo by Asha Robles)

Naden was shutout against the Royals in the regular season and she was as determined as anyone to not let that happen again. Right from the opening kick, Naden stormed to the ball and drove it right through two Royal defenders and got a clean look at the goal where she used her left foot to try and sneak it past Royals’ Kristi Stone.

The shot hit the right post and bounced right in the hands of Stone as she made the first of her crazy high 18 saves! Stone was under fire in the first half and majority of the second as Naden, Zoe Surber, and Therese Vaughn made the Royals defense work.

The ND Royals then answered back as Paris Blas placed a great corner kick into the thick of Castro and the defense where Castro managed to score appearing to score the first goal of the game, but the referee had called a penalty on the offense taking away the, what would appear to be, a crucial goal.

It wasn’t long after that Naden had capitalized on another opportunity in dominating fashion. Colleen wrestled the ball away from a Royals defender and bursted through two more on her way to a one-on-one with Stone where she knocked in the games first goal which had her coaches Joe Cruz and Paige Surber celebrating on the sideline.

The Dolphins were holding a 1-0 halftime lead and kept the pressure on Stone in the beginning of the second half before Southern would find another chink in the Royal defense.

Vaughn, a sophomore, had never scored a goal in her two seasons as a Dolphin and she chose the perfect time to snap the streak after getting a huge score midway through the second half. The constant pressure by the Southern forwards allowed a through ball past the defense where Vaughn found herself in a race to the ball with Stone. Vaughn got to the ball first and tipped the ball through the net before Stone and a Royals defender could close in on her upping the score 2-0.

Dolphins' Therese Vaughn and Zoe Surber attack the Royals' defense. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins’ Therese Vaughn and Zoe Surber attack the Royals’ defense. (photo by Asha Robles)

“It feels amazing and I can’t even believe it,” admitted Vaughn on scoring the goal. “I’m still smiling about it. I just went for it and did my best.”

Southern’s freshman star Naden has handled pressure all season long and was dead set on getting to the championship from day one. Now that they are finally there, Naden is not backing down from her goal and this season she has proven game after game that she always gets her goal.

“There is a lot of pressure and it is scary some what. I’m used to working under pressure though and it usually turns out good. I feel ready and my team is ready. Each one of us has grown as a player and we’re ready to go do this,” said the confident Naden.

The loss snaps a 10-year-long streak where the Royals had made it to the championship game since 2004. Of the other champions in those 10 years where the Dolphins in 2012 and 2013 and the Guam High Panthers in 2011 who will now play for the 2014 title.

PHOTO GALLERY:

The ND Royals watch as the ball flies over the goal post. (photo by Asha Robles)

The ND Royals watch as the ball flies over the goal post. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins' Colleen Naden and Royals Hope-Mary Calip fight for possession. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins’ Colleen Naden and Royals Hope-Mary Calip fight for possession. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins' Colleen Naden passes the ball off to a teammate. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins’ Colleen Naden passes the ball off to a teammate. (photo by Asha Robles)

KINNEY’S BIG GAME LIFTS PANTHERS OVER SHARKS

By Mike Nauta Jr.

Post-season action in the IIAAG High School Girls Soccer League resumed yesterday with two games scheduled at the GFA Soccer Field in Harmon.  In the second match, the Simon Sanchez Sharks took on the Guam High Panthers for the right to advance to the championship game.  At the end of 80 minutes of play, the Panthers celebrated victory after defeating their opponents 5-2.  With the win, the Panthers set up a championship date for this Saturday where they will take on the defending-champion Southern High Dolphins.

“We really deserved this win and our team worked really hard to get where we are,” said the Panthers’ Kayla Kinney.  “However, getting by a very good Sharks team isn’t the finish for us.  We still have a championship game against the defending champions,” added the league’s co- MVP.

Kayla Kinney of the Guam High Panthers breaks away down the sideline from a Shark defender. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Kayla Kinney of the Guam High Panthers breaks away down the sideline from a Shark defender. (photo by: Asha Robles)

The Sharks got off to a really rough start as things didn’t seem to go their way.  Not being able to penetrate through a tough Panthers denied Simon Sanchez any clear opportunities early on.  However, the same couldn’t be said for the Panthers as it only took eight minutes before a goal by Meagan Guerrero gave her team an early 1-0 lead.  Not willing to settle for the one goal lead, the Panthers upped their lead on another goal by Guerrero in the 14th minute.

“Keep on playing like the score was still 0-0,” said Guerrero on her reaction to her second goal.  “It was still the first half and we were playing a team that was very capable of turning things around.”

Already down two goals, the Sharks tried to maintain damage control to stay within striking distance.  Efforts by Maria Abbey Iriarte and Franshay Shippey tried to get their team on the board.  The Guam High defense continuously put pressure on the Sharks disallowing any goals.  With less than two minutes in the opening half, Simon Sanchez found themselves trailing 3-0 after a Kinney shot found the back of the net for a goal.

“Being down early in the first half by that much is very uncharacteristic of our team,” said Sharks’ coach Ron Canos. “Guam High just played excellent team ball and executed well.”

Much like the first-half, Guam High wasted no time attacking and looking to add to their already commanding lead.  After being awarded a free kick, Guam High’s Marlena Connolley found an open Kinney who put one past Simon Sanchez goalie Lowella Diramos for her second goal of the game.

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Janelle Guiao avoids Panther defense as she takes the ball towards the sideline. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Janelle Guiao avoids Panther defense as she takes the ball towards the sideline. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Despite being down 4-0, the Sharks continued to put up a fight.  In the 66th minute, a handball in the box awarded Simon Sanchez a penalty kick.  Iriarte made easy work of the opportunity and ended the scoring drought after putting one past Guam High goalkeeper Geswalda Gonzales.  The Panthers would have none of that and quickly responded with another goal by Kinney who completed a hat trick making it a 4-1 game.  Before time on the clock expired, Iriarte managed to score one more for the Sharks.  When the final whistle blew, the Panthers charged the field celebrating their win.

“Congratulations to Guam High on their win and good luck to them in the finals,” said the Sharks’ Iriarte.  “We did and tried our best and would’ve like to have been the team advancing, but they played great team ball and it showed on the scoreboard and the end results.”

IIAAG High School Girls Soccer League action resumes this Saturday with both the consolation and championship games taking place.  The third-place game will feature the Sharks taking on the Notre Dame Royals.  Meanwhile, the battle for the crown will showcase the Dolphins against the Panthers.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Franshay Shippey of the Sharks runs towards the sideline as she looks for open teammates to pass to. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Franshay Shippey of the Sharks runs towards the sideline as she looks for open teammates to pass to. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Zhanissa Mendiola gets ready to kick the ball towards her forwards. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Zhanissa Mendiola gets ready to kick the ball towards her forwards. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Guam High Panthers’ Anna Armel gets ready to kick the ball towards her teammates as a Sanchez Shark defender closes in on her. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Guam High Panthers’ Anna Armel gets ready to kick the ball towards her teammates as a Sanchez Shark defender closes in on her. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Ashley Mateo of the Guam High Panthers breaks away from Shark defense. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Ashley Mateo of the Guam High Panthers breaks away from Shark defense. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Guam High Panthers’ Harmony Yatar throws the ball in. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Guam High Panthers’ Harmony Yatar throws the ball in. (photo by: Asha Robles)

A Panther gets swarmed by Shark defenders. (photo by: Asha Robles)

A Panther gets swarmed by Shark defenders. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Anna Armel of the Guam High Panthers races a Shark player for possession of the ball. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Anna Armel of the Guam High Panthers races a Shark player for possession of the ball. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Janelle Guiao avoids Panther defense as she takes the ball towards the sideline. (photo by: Asha Robles)

Simon Sanchez Sharks’ Janelle Guiao avoids Panther defense as she takes the ball towards the sideline. (photo by: Asha Robles)

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