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ROYALS GRIND OUT WIN OVER GECKOS

ND Royals Destiny Castro made a literal heads up play in the 53rd minute scoring the games only goal off a corner kick pass from teammate Randi Paulino to beat the GW Geckos Monday evening in girls soccer.

By Robert Balajadia

The ND Royals and GW Geckos were both determined to bounce back from their weekends games after the Royals tied with the Southern Dolphins while the Geckos suffered their first loss against the Guam High Panthers. Their Monday evening matchup was settled by a header and strong defense courtesy of one well known Royal.

Royals Destiny Castro made a literal heads up play in the 53rd minute scoring the games only goal off a corner kick pass from teammate Randi Paulino. Castro saw an opportunity and just used her head, getting it past Geckos stout keeper Sam Quinata on the left side of the goal.

“I wasn’t aiming for that corner, it just went there,” said Castro. “I was only trying to do something while the ball was in the air, like get a head on it or something!”

The Royal defense held strong to keep Geckos dangerous scorer Jalana Garcia out of the net anchored by goalie Johnalyn Santos, who stuffed all five of Garcia’s shots in the second half. ND improves to (4-1) while the Geckos fall to (3-2).

“Our defense improved and we’re learning how to cover better,” said Santos. “I just told our defense to stay strong out there. It’s my job to try and control the defense.”

Players collide while attempting to retrieve a wild pass.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Players collide while attempting to retrieve a wild pass. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Royals were playing without midfielder Mames Blas which altered their offensive strategy and capabilities. But without one of the teams leading scorers, Castro and the offense took initiative.

“We couldn’t control as much we would’ve like to in the middle, so we just focused on finding targets, which was our forwards. We didn’t really have a play for our midfield, instead we just focused on getting the ball to our forwards,” said Castro.

image001Garcia’s closest attempt came at the 47th minute where she out ran two Royal defenders to get a decent shot at Santos. Garcia seemed to rush the kick as the ND defense was playing catch up, but Santos managed to slap the ball away from the goal for the save.

Minutes later, Garcia got the cleanest look all game by beating Santos on a footrace as she tapped the ball right past her. The ball was on its way to giving the Geckos the lead, but Royals defender Hopemary Calip managed to get a leg in to knock away Garcia’s shot.

Santos was tested again late in the half as Garcia fired off a strong shot form the left side. Santos got both hands on the ball to deny Garcia for the 5th and final time before the Royals successfully played keep away.

The dangerous Sanchez Sharks front line are up next for the Royals Wednesday and the defense along with Santos’ keeping abilities will again be tested.

“I’m pretty calm. I’m just going to go with the game,” said Santos on facing the Sharks.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Destiny Castro of ND blasts through Geckos to retrieve the ball in Royal territory.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Destiny Castro of ND blasts through Geckos to retrieve the ball in Royal territory. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Asiah Garrido of GW clears the ball out of bounds away from the attacking Royals.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Asiah Garrido of GW clears the ball out of bounds away from the attacking Royals. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Margarita Gay is a little late on the tackle against a Gecko.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Margarita Gay is a little late on the tackle against a Gecko. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Colleen Quinata of GW uses her footwork to avoid the defense of Destiny Castro.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Colleen Quinata of GW uses her footwork to avoid the defense of Destiny Castro. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Destiny Castro of the Royals lines up for a long pass to her teammate.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Destiny Castro of the Royals lines up for a long pass to her teammate. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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