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RAPADAS LEADS COUGARS TO SEASON OPENING WIN

Junior midfielder guides Academy to victory

By Patrick Lujan

The Academy Cougars got off to a good start in the 2023 IIAAG Girls Soccer League season opener.

Returning First Team All-Island midfielder Tori Rapadas scored two goals and added an assist as the Cougars held off their archrival Notre Dame Royals 3-2 Thursday evening at the UOG soccer field. (Note: Academy tied Harvest 0-0 on Monday in the season opener…GSPN error 🙂 )

Wendy’s Player of the Game: Victoria Rapadas scored two goals and an assist to lead the Cougars to a season-opening win.

The junior Rapadas scored both her goals in the first half that gave Academy a 2-0 halftime lead before ND tied things up at 2-2 around the 60th minute. Two minutes later at the opposite end of the field, Rapadas found Marie Duenas from the left side free kick. Duenas was amongst a crowded box but managed to punch in the game-winner.

First Half Tempo

Academy controlled the tempo in the first half with much of the action coming in front of the Notre Dame goal.

After both teams took some time getting a feel for the game, Rapadas hit the season’s first goal, rolling in a dribbler to the right corner from 10 yards out.

The Cougars kept the attack with several shots on goal, but couldn’t capitalize until Rapadas struck again from close range just as the first half whistle was blown.

“That second goal was crucial to set the tone. After so many attempts on goal, we needed to make a statement.”

– Cougars junior midfielder Tori Rapadas

2nd Half ND Opportunities

As much as the Cougars were in control with the time of possession, the Royals made the best of what little opportunities they had. After having just a few shots in the first half, Notre Dame’s first two shots of the second half found the back of the net.

Catalina Franquez gathered possession deep into the Academy box and methodically snuck a shot past Cougars goalie Natasha Kelly.

Royals senior star Faith Piper nodded things up when she launched a beautiful rainbow shot over the outreached hands of Kelly at the 60th minute. Two shots, two goals for the Royals.

“When ND tied the game, that was a defensive error on us,” Rapadas explained. “Faith got the ball at the perfect place to score—our pressure wasn’t enough.”

But Academy wanted nothing to do with a tie as just two minutes later, Rapadas found Duenas for the winning goal.

“There might have been a wall of defenders in front of me, but I was looking to place the ball where my teammates could pick it up and finish. It was a little far out, and I knew my capabilities, so I just did what I thought would be best and prayed they would get it,” Rapadas said about the game-winner.

The Cougars are back on the field on Monday when they visit the Guam High Panthers, while the Royals visit the defending champion Harvest Eagles next Thursday.

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COMING SOON …

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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Congratulations @seadancer_bailey

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