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ISLANDERS STIFLE EAGLES IN FINALS

The JFK Islanders saved their best performance for the championship game where they defeated the top seeded Harvest Eagles to grab the 2014 title at the GFA field in Harmon Saturday evening.

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By Asha Marie Robles

“It’s been a long time since JFK has won a soccer title. I’m just glad to have been apart of it and see how much these boys have improved,” said Islanders head coach Eladio Manansala after his team won the title as the 2014 IIAAG Boys High School Soccer Champions. The John F. Kennedy Islanders beat the Harvest Eagles 2-0 in an exciting championship match that was held at the Guam Football Association on Saturday December 20th.

Both teams were continuously cheered on by fans throughout the match as they want head to head for a total of 80 minutes. However, the last screams would be by Islander fans as they cheered their team on as the last whistle was blown.

The Islanders started the match off strong as their defense would not let any ball reach their goalie as the Eagles showed to have more ball control within the first couple of minutes. The first shot of the match was in fact by Ricky Katsumata of the Eagles. However, the shot was a little too high and went right past the top of the goal post.

Sora Recella of the Islanders cuts through Eagles on the way towards the goal.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Sora Recella of the Islanders cuts through Eagles on the way towards the goal. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

After that play, the Islanders stepped up their game and continued to dominate throughout the first half.

The first goal of the match didn’t come until the 27th minute when Sora Recella made a cross from the left side of the field and found Augustine Choi’s foot, which at first deflected off the Eagles goalie but found it’s way back in Recella’s sight and into the net as Recella tapped the loose ball.

“Right when the ball came out of the keeper’s hands I thought to myself, ‘This is it. I need to get to that ball as fast as I can,’ and I did,” said Recella about what went on in his head when he noticed that the goalie lost grip of the ball.

Less than five minutes later the Islanders would once again score, giving them a 2-0 lead as team captain, Philip Ogo, made a hard shot from outside the goal box which found it’s way right past the keeper and into the net. To celebrate, Ogo ran in front of the crowd and did his signature backflip.

“When I kicked the ball I was just hoping that it would go in and it did. That was a great feeling to secure our win”, Ogo stated.

Though there were a couple of scoring opportunities from both sides, the rest of the first half would remain scoreless and end with the Islander leading 2-0.

Although the second half saw no goals from either team, many shot opportunities were present but both teams couldn’t find the back of the net.

Islanders speed down field for ball possession near the Eagle goal.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Islanders speed down field for ball possession near the Eagle goal. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Eagles started off strong in the second half, as they seemed to possess the ball more often. Katsumata displayed great ball control as he was instrumental in giving the Eagles long runs and shot opportunities.

Even with the determination the Eagles displayed in the second half, the Islanders wouldn’t let up as they held their defense tight and kept their goal safe.

“I feel like we did great today, I cant say that we played bad because we won. We just came out today and did what we needed to do,” stated Rucella, while teammate Ogo said, “We played good as a team. We had a lot of communication going on throughout the game so that played a big part to how we won, as well as staying humble.”

As the final whistle blew, the Islanders immediately grouped together and ran towards their screaming fans. Ogo believes that because of his fans, they were motivated to do the best they could, “I would say the support from the crowd and our coach played a huge part in why we won today’s game.”

Head coach Manansala stressed how proud he was of his team and all the hard work they’ve put into the season, “All year my boys kept saying they wanted to win this match for me, but I told them to win it for them, for their school, and for the guys who never won a championship before.”

PHOTO GALLERY:

The Islanders start their celebration of shutting out the Eagles 2-0 for the championship title.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Islanders start their celebration of shutting out the Eagles 2-0 for the championship title. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Seo Hyun Kim of the Islanders tries to beat Paul Kim to the ball.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Seo Hyun Kim of the Islanders tries to beat Paul Kim to the ball. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Paul Kim of the Eagles gets into his "power stance" while waiting for a corner kick from Ezra Valdez.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Paul Kim of the Eagles gets into his “power stance” while waiting for a corner kick from Ezra Valdez. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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COMING SOON …

DPR Liberation Village Baseball Tournament

Paris Olympics

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The winning Mahi weighed 23.9 lbs. The crew took 3rd in the Bonita division (14 lbs) and 4th in the Marlin division (123.5 lbs).
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