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PANGINDIAN LEADS COUGARS OVER SHARKS

The Academy Cougars got a big win over the Sanchez Sharks during the final weeks of the girls soccer season at the GFA field during a particularly great soccer playing weather.

By Jose Terlaje

The bright and sunny skies provided the perfect weather to play soccer at the GFA Field as the Simon Sanchez Sharks took on the AOLG Cougars. The Cougars upset the higher-seeded Sharks, winning the match 2-1 behind two goals by sophomore striker Aubi Pangindian.

“Before my games I always mentally prepare myself and during my matches I’m motivated to do well because of my family and friends that come out to support me,” said AOLG Striker Aubi Pangindian when asked about her scoring consistency. The sophomore has shown great scoring prowess throughout the season.

Early in the first half of the match, both teams struggled to get a rhythm going offensively. As time went on, the Cougars were able to pull themselves together and started to apply pressure to the Sanchez defense, constantly bringing the ball within scoring distance but coming up short.

Sharks Franshay Shippey blasts through the Cougars defense. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Sharks Franshay Shippey blasts through the Cougars offense to defend the ball. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Later, it looked like the Sharks were starting to get something going on offense until the Cougars were able to win the ball back and counterattack with center defender Kaeliana Taitano feeding a perfect through ball to  Pangindian who outran the Sanchez defense, going one-on-one with the Sharks’ keeper and sending a solid shot to back of the net. The Cougars went up 1-0 after Pangindian’s feat.

As the half came to a close, the Sharks had scoring opportunities from Abbey Iriarte and Donicia Iriarte but were unlucky with the half ending 1-0 in favor of the Cougars.

In the start of the second half, the Sharks stepped up their offense and started smothering the AOLG defense. The Sharks were able to keep the ball on the Cougars side of the field for a good amount of time, getting within scoring distance off excellent passing from Iriarte but no shots were able to be converted into goals.

After another failed attempt to score, the Cougars went on another counterattack with Pangindian bringing the ball down the left side of the field. Shania Spindel then fed the ball to teammate Morgan Quinley who was able to find Pangindian wide open, getting another one-on-one with the Sharks’ keeper, sending a quick shot to the left corner of the goal to increase AOLG’s lead to 2-0.

Cougars Brittany Meno clears a kick. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Cougars Brittany Meno clears a kick. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

The Sharks gave the Cougars no time to celebrate though, as Donicia Iriarte took a shot on goal that was deflected by an AOLG defender, giving Sanchez a corner kick. The kick was taken by Caylani Estoy who sent the ball flying toward the Cougar goalie. Errors by the defense caused the ball to bounce into the Cougar goal, cutting the AOLG lead to 2-1.

Sanchez attempted to even the score as time started to wind down but they were constantly being stopped by the Cougar defense led by Uriyah Tobiason, Brittany Meno and Kaeliana Taitano. The AOLG defense held down the fort for their team until time ran out, ending the match 2-1 as the Cougars picked up the win.

“The girls have really started to communicate more as we’ve progressed through the season. They’re playing more as a team now. They’re definitely jelling and are more on point with their passing ,” said AOLG Coach Shana Spindel when asked about the improvements the Cougars have made since having a fairly rough start this season.

Spindel added that her team intends to work harder in their final games of the regular season in order to hopefully get a better seed before playoffs. She also said that she is proud of her girls for being able to come together and overcome a very talented team like Sanchez who played great soccer.

PHOTO GALLERY:

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Sharks Zhanissa Mendiola fights for possession of the ball. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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Sharks Kaya Ignacio weaves through traffic in the games early goings. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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