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SOCCER: PANTHERS BOUNCE BACK

The Guam High Panthers boys soccer team bounced back from losing their season opener by taking down a red hot GW Geckos team at the Panther home field Wednesday evening.

By Jose Terlaje

After losing to the JFK Islanders on Monday night, the Guam High Panthers, who started their season later than most teams, bounced back from the loss and improved their record to 1-1 after defeating the George Washington Geckos (3-1-1). The Panthers dominated the possession game and used solid defense throughout the game to pick up a clean sheet against the Geckos, winning the match 2-0 at their home field.

GHS keeper Dante Banes, who had nine saves in the game, said that his team’s defense is one of their strongest points and that they worked on passing drills and communication during his team’s practice this week in preparation for the game. Banes stated that even with the win, his team still has some things to work on especially with opening up more on the field in order to stop being so clustered in the midfield. Banes said that his skills as a keeper just come purely from the hours of practice he puts in.

Both teams struggled to get an offensive rhythm going in the early minutes of the first half, giving up many possessions of the ball due to poor passing. After a few minutes of sloppy play, the Panthers stepped up their offense, controlling the ball and finding holes in the Geckos’ defense.

After a Guam High throw-in, GHS striker Trever Riney had a clear shot on goal but put too much lift on the ball, blasting it high above the goal. A few moments later, Riney received a good through ball from midfielder, Leon Bamba, but was unable to find the back of the net, kicking it straight to GW’s keeper.

GHS continued to apply the pressure on the GW defense, giving good passes and maintaining control of the ball on the Geckos’ side of the field. Riney had another opportunity to score after weaving through the Gecko defense but GW keeper Tevin Santos remained calm and kicked the ball out the side.

A GW Gecko leaps for a header that misses the goal by inches.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

A GW Gecko leaps for a header that misses the goal by inches. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Geckos then got possession of the ball and had the opportunity to score off a cross from defender, Jacob Frias, but the effort was stopped by GHS center midfielder, Hunter Yatar. The Geckos were awarded a corner kick but could not capitalize on it. GW midfielder Ryan Quitugua attempted to set the pace of his team, using his excellent ball control to try to maintain possession of the ball and find an opportunity to score but the Geckos could not come together on offense.

Finally in the 20th minute the Panthers’ Riney was able to slip past the GW defense after a throw-in from Erret Bainum, shooting a rocket past the GW keeper to the back of the net that put his team up 1-0. Moments later at the 25th minute, GHS’ Bamba sent a shot from 35 yards out and caught the GW keeper sleeping. Bamba’s shot bounced right past an unready Gecko goalie to put the Panthers up 2-0.

The Geckos felt the sense of urgency after finding themselves down by two points and started to use the speed on their team to try to break through the Panthers’ defense. GW was able to get past GHS’ first line of defense but was eventually stopped by the Panthers’ Zack Olmstead.  The Geckos continued their aggressive play to close out the half but were unsuccessful in finding any scoring opportunities.

In the second half, the Panthers did not ease up one bit. They continued to apply the pressure on the Geckos despite leading by two points. GHS increased its defensive effectiveness with TJ Tisdale picking up many Gecko passes and sending them down the field to his fellow Panthers who were consistently finding good shot opportunities throughout the half but were not lucky enough to rack up anymore goals.

Luke Reeder of the Panthers battles with Jacob Frias for ball control.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Luke Reeder of the Panthers battles with Jacob Frias for ball control. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

GW’s Quitugua continued to work the midfield, weaving through the Panthers’ defense but was unable to connect with teammates after creating space with the ball. Quitugua tried to set the pace for his team but the chemistry was not there. GW’s Frias was also a factor in his team’s efforts, making big defensive stops and getting clean passes to the midfielders but the Geckos were unable get into a position to score on GHS. Midway through the second half, it seemed like the Geckos were starting to give up and the Panthers kept up their defense and were successful in maintaining possession, killing the clock and winning the game 2-0.

Guam High’s Bamba was dominant throughout the game, playing a high level of soccer both offensively and defensively.“I just do my best to keep my team together and to make sure that we don’t fall apart”, said Bamba when asked about his efficiency on the field.

Bamba, who was never took a break throughout the game, said he gives it his all in his games because the other team leaders are giving it 100% so he feels he has to do his part. He mentioned that his mother, who is also his coach, is one of his biggest motivations to keep going on the field and never keep up no matter the situation.

PHOTO GALLERY:

A GW Gecko swiftly gets the ball down the field to advance position down field.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

A GW Gecko swiftly gets the ball down the field to advance position down field. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Hunter Yatar of the Panthers heads the ball out of their own territory.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Hunter Yatar of the Panthers heads the ball out of their own territory. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Leon Bamba goes for a high speed attack on the ball to stop the Geckos from advancing.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Leon Bamba goes for a high speed attack on the ball to stop the Geckos from advancing. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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COMING SOON …

  • 3rd Quarter Sports: Rugby, Boys Basketball, Softball, Tennis in full swing!

 

 

QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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