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BULLDOGS, KNIGHTS TIE 2-2 IN SEASON OPENER

High school girls soccer kicks off fourth quarter sports

By Carmen Gogue

For the first time since GDOE split from the IIAAG to form the Interscholastic Sports Association in 2019, public and private schools will be united to compete against each other in girls high school soccer.

The Guam Football Association is spearheading the reunification of the ISA and IIAAG schools with the Interscholastic Girls High School Football League combining the competition.

In the season opener, the Okkodo Bulldogs and St. Johns Knights tied 2-2 Friday afternoon at the John F. Kennedy field.

The Knights controlled the first half with tough defense from their goalie Ha’ani Byerly and defender Olivia Conroy. On offense, Hope Hutapea scored the first goal of the game at the 14th minute off a well-placed corner kick from Yzabella Saddo.

St. Johns led 1-0 at the end of the first half but it was the much-needed halftime where the Bulldogs regrouped to come out mighty in the second half.

Okkodo coach Napoleon Flinch provides insight on the halftime huddle, “This is my first time coaching these girls. We went through a mental break in the first half so I had to bring our girls together which can be difficult as a new coach especially with a lot of different personalities on the team. Our defense and communication were better in the second half,” said Flinch.

With finer passing and communication, senior Mia Blas hustled through the Knights’ defense to score a goal for Okkodo at the 45th minute to tie the game at 1-1.

Fighting to get the advantage, Saddo powered yet another impressive corner kick to score the second goal for the Knights at the 47th minute putting them up 2-1.

As both the Knights and Bulldogs continued to battle between possessions and shots, sophomore Connica Baza zoomed by the defense towards the goal. Baza showcased her skilled moves and scored the Bulldogs second goal at the 72nd minute tying the game again at 2-2.

With little time left in the game, Okkodo received a penalty kick due to a foul committed by St. Johns but Byerly managed to catch the shot and deny the Bulldogs a game winning goal. Time ran out with both teams unable to get a winning outcome leaving the score 2-2 resulting in a draw to start the season.

Both teams are excited for the combined league and the opportunity for growth through more competition in the sport.

“My team and I are excited to challenge more of the public schools and private schools. It’s going to provide us more opportunities to improve our game,” said Saddo.

Rising star Baza chimed in her opinion on the combined league “It’s brand new and a challenge to all of us public school athletes, but I feel that it will only help us get better”.

With this being Blas’ final high school soccer season, she looks forward to the new competition adding “It gives us a wider range of players to go against instead of the same as always playing in the ISA league.”

Following Game

The GW Geckos defeated the Tiyan Titans 2-0 in the following game of the evening.

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COMING SOON …

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro June 15-24

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

QUICK HITS

Coach Donan Cruz and the U.S. Men’s U21 National Team took home gold at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 27-25) win over Canada on Sunday evening in Nogales, Mexico. The victory guaranteed the U.S. a spot in the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.
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Congratulations to the 2024 Guam Rugby Cup Champions: Tao Tao Mana (Men’s Cup Champions) and Southern Rugby Club (Women’s Cup Champions)

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