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SOCCER: COUGARS GROUND EAGLES

The surging Academy Cougars defeated the Harvest Eagles at the GFA Training facility Thursday evening as the girls soccer season nears its end.

By Robert Balajadia

The surging Academy Cougars defeated the Harvest Eagles 3-1 at the GFA Training facility Thursday evening as the girls soccer season nears its end. Despite benching half the starters in the beginning of the game, the Cougars got big goals from their key players down the stretch to pull out the win.

“Half the starters didn’t start show up on time. They were supposed to be here at 3:45 but they start showing up at 4:10. I know traffic is bad from [GFA] to Academy, but if everyone else shows up on time then they should start before them,” firmly stated Cougars’ head coach Shana Spindell.

Academy’s Gabby Paynter took control of the offense early netting the first goal within the first 10 minutes to give Academy the Edge.

Academy Cougars’ Gabi Mantanona pushes the ball down the sideline. (photo by Asha Robles)

Academy Cougars’ Gabi Mantanona pushes the ball down the sideline. (photo by Asha Robles)

Harvest would quickly answer behind Jessie Flynn as she received a through ball and snared her shot right through Cougars goalie Mya Sanchez to knot the game at one goal.

As the starters slowly started to make their way back into the game, the Cougars started to regain control. Constant pressure by Mia Santos kept the Eagle defense on their toes in the first half, but Santos’ shots were just missing the goal.

The constant pressure kept on by the offense eventually paid off in the first half after Eagles’ Natha Hennegan got tagged for a hand ball that set up Cougars’ penalty kick ace Gemilie Ilao for an easy goal to go up 2-1.

Santos and the offense kept their pressure up in the second half and looked to put the game out of reach midway through.

Cougars’ Andrea Odell had the goal of the game as she stopped her dribble from outside the goal box and slammed a high shot with her left foot that sailed over Eagles’ goalie Bryn Collier for the teams third and final score to go up 3-1.

Academy is currently allowing the least amount of goals scored with kudos going to their defense and the ability of goalie Sanchez.

The Cougars only loss came early in the season against the Southern Dolphins. Academy has two big games remaining on the schedule against the Sanchez Sharks and Guam High Panthers before the playoffs begin.

Nicole Pierce of the Harvest Eagles cuts the ball out in order to avoid it being taken by Cougars'

Nicole Pierce of the Harvest Eagles cuts the ball out in order to avoid it being taken by Cougars’ Fina Paulino.

When asked if her team was where they want to be at, Spindell admitted there are still areas of her team she feels can improve.

“After the ND game yes! But after todays game, not really,” said Spindell on peaking. “We know what we have to do to, we’ve watched how both those teams play. Sanchez has Maria Abbey Iriarte so we need to shut her down. Guam High’s main threat is Kayla Kinney. We need to stop her from shooting and dribbling. It’s going to be hard games, but I’m concerned about getting into the quarterfinals.”

The Cougars will face the Sharks Wednesday May 7th and the Panthers on Saturday May 10th.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Cougars Mia Santos' sprints and pushes the ball out of bounds. (photo by Asha Robles)

Cougars Mia Santos’ sprints and pushes the ball out of bounds. (photo by Asha Robles)

(photo by Asha Robles)

Harvest Eagles’ Nelly Cubacub takes a hard hit as she blocks the ball from Cougars’ Uriyah Tobiason.(photo by Asha Robles)

(photo by Asha Robles)

Sirena Bordallo of the Academy Cougars receives the ball off a give and go. (photo by Asha Robles)

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