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ROYALS GIVE DOLPHINS FIRST LOSS

The ND Royals took control early and shutout the top seeded Southern Dolphins in their championship rematch Wednesday evening at the Leo Palace soccer field.

By Mike Nata Jr.

Heading into Wednesday’s IIAAG High School Girls Soccer League matchup, both the Notre Dame Royals and defending champion Southern Dolphins had a goal.  For the Royals it was to try and do what no other team has been able to do in the past seven games, hand the defending champs their first loss of the season.  Meanwhile, the Lady Dolphins looked to keep their unblemished record intact.

Going head-to-head with tons of supporters surrounding the Leo Palace Resort soccer field, the two teams took it to one another.  However, at the end of the match only one could walk away victorious.  After playing a near flawless game, the Royals managed to cruise past the Lady Dolphins earning the 3-0-shutout victory.

Royals' Hopemary Calip applies the defensive pressure against Dolphins' Colleen Naden. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals’ Hopemary Calip applies the defensive pressure against Dolphins’ Colleen Naden. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

“We knew coming into this match that Southern High was going to be a tough team to play,” said Notre Dame’s Paris “Mames” Blas.  “They are the defending champions, but we just had to come prepared, focused, and ready to play.  In the end it was the 11 girls on the field combined with our teammates on the sidelines that contributed to our win.”

From the start of the match, it was apparent that both teams needed a feel for one another.  However, it was the Royals who looked to have the upper edge in trying to create opportunities for their team.  A normally aggressive Southern team came out playing a bit sluggish and it was noticeable when their scoring leader Colleen Naden was pulled to the sidelines a few minutes into the game.

“Colleen is one of our players who brings a lot to the table for our team,” said Southern coach Paige Surber.  “A decision to take her out early in the game was due to her not playing with that fire we know she possesses.  On that same note, my hat goes off to an ND team who came to play and wanted it more.”

As the game progressed, it was the Royals who found their comfort zone quickly and capitalized by posting the game’s first goal on the board.  In the ninth minute, a timely centered ball by Madsion Taitano found an open Destiny Castro who zipped a shot past Southern goalkeeper Lorraina Sanchez.  The (1-nil) lead wasn’t satisfying enough for the Royals as four minutes later another goal by Castro upped their lead to 2-0.

Despite trailing two goals, the Lady Dolphins continued to fight and eventually got their chances with shots on goal.  In the 29th and 31st minute of the half, Naden and teammate Zoe Surber each had golden opportunities to get one past Notre Dame goalie Kristie Stone.  However, a very alert and aggressive Stone was on top of her game denying the duo.  Late in the half, Surber would be presented with a one-on-one chance with Stone only to be denied by a diving grab.

“I knew that I just had to do my job and protect the goal and let nothing through no matter what,” said Stone.  “I also have to say that because of my teammates in front of me, defending against a good Southern team was done with less pressure.”

Second half action got started with the Dolphins finally looking like the team most would recognize.  Not wasting any time, Southern’s Britney Quinata blasted the half’s first shot on goal only to be stopped.  For the first few minutes of the second half, the Lady Dolphins maintained possession on their half of the field creating chances that included three corner kicks.  However, the defense led by HopeMary Calip and Britney Blau kept the defending-champions in check.

ND Royals' Kristi Stone jumps into action and saves a ball from going through the goal. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

ND Royals’ Kristi Stone jumps into action and saves a ball from going through the goal. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

As time on the clock continued to wind-down, the Royals eventually fought back and added cushion to their two-goal lead.  A nice feed from Amara Gumataotao found and open Blas who carried the ball and put a shot into the left side of the goal giving ND a 3-0 lead.  When time finally expired and the whistle sounded, it was the Royals who celebrated the victory after handing the Lady Dolphins their first loss of the season.

“This game is big for us as it proves that we can play and accomplish what we set out to do,” said ND’s Destiny Castro who led her team with two goals.  “We just have to keep working hard as the season goes on and it’ll take us places.”

With the win, the Royals improve their season record to 6-1-1.  The loss drops the Lady Dolphins to 6-1-1.

PHOTO GALLERY

Dolphins' Colleen Naden attempts to score off a header from a corner kick. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins’ Colleen Naden attempts to score off a header from a corner kick. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

ND Royals Paris Blas tries to head the ball in over Dolphins' goalie Lorraina Sanchez. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

ND Royals Paris Blas tries to head the ball in over Dolphins’ goalie Lorraina Sanchez. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

ND Royals' goalie Kristi Stone dives to the ball and negates a shot attempt by Zoe Surber. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

ND Royals’ goalie Kristi Stone dives to the ball and negates a shot attempt by Zoe Surber. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins' Zoe Surber puts too much power on the shot as the ball sailed over the goal post. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins’ Zoe Surber puts too much power on the shot as the ball sailed over the goal post. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins' Colleen Naden tries to take the ball down field. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins’ Colleen Naden tries to take the ball down field. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins' Colleen Naden tires to get her teammates open on the free kick. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Dolphins’ Colleen Naden tires to get her teammates open on the free kick. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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