By Robert Balajadia
The Sanchez Sharks are heading to the girls soccer semifinals on Saturday after defeating the Guam High Panthers 3-0 at the Okkodo field Thursday evening. The score was not indicative of how close the game was with Sanchez getting two goals in the final five minutes to secure the win, but the moments before the two scores were nerve-wrecking for the Sharks defense.
“We knew a lead is comfortable, but we knew not to get too comfortable because these Panthers are a really good team and they were going to come back strong. We just needed to hold out because we knew our offense was going to get goals,” said Sharks goalie Lowell DiRamos.
Panther Clarissa Abalos received a cross-kick at the 60th minute and nearly got a head on the ball, but the Shark defense managed to capitalize on the missed header and cleared the ball away. That would be the closest the Panther attack would get to scoring for the remainder of the half.
Sanchez got their first goal at the 19th minute as Caylani Estoy took a deep shot that bounced right over the Panthers keeper. Estoy is accustomed to assisting on goals and hadn’t put one in for the Sharks all season long until their first post season game, and she couldn’t have picked a better time to cash in.
“I usually shoot outside, but it felt so good to get my first goal of the season. No one cheered along with me, but that’s okay,” joked Estoy.
Sharks Donicia Iriarte took a cleared ball form the defense and danced around one defender for an open shot at the Panthers keeper, where she tipped her shot way right to notch the teams second goal of the game at the 75th minute.
Sharks Zhannissia Mendiola then attempted a throw in a minute later near the Panther goal post and the Panther defense tried to use a header to clear the ball away, but the attempt backfired as the ball bounced backwards right into their own goal, giving Sanchez a free point and a 3-0 victory.
“Our teams runs through our defense and we owe it to them as they always know where to go and who to cover, like Franshay Shippey who helps me out on covering crosses and such,” added DiRamos.
Sanchez will now face the top seeded Southern Dolphins on Saturday in the semifinals at the GFA field.
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