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KNIGHTS NET 1-0 WIN AGAINST COUGARS

St. John’s gets past Academy with one to none victory

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

It was a good senior night for the St. John’s team during their second to last regular season match for the GFA Interscholastic Girls HS Football League. With the Academy Cougars meeting up at the Knights’ home pitch on a hot but fairly breezy afternoon, the Knights took the win with just one point over the Cougars scored by Ella Wigsten in the first half. 

The two schools were prepared for an even game as the results of the season are looking like it will be between these two fighting for the bronze medal at the end of the season. 

1st Half

The balance in competition was clear straight into the first half as neither team was on the offensive for long before the ball was turned around, consistently held within midfield. 

The difference between the two teams when they did get the opportunity to strike showed in how often the athletes took a shot on goal. With the St. John’s girls, any chance they got was taken before a Cougar defender had time to close in, it did not matter if they were shooting from outside of the box or if they were being swarmed by their opponents. When the ball would get to the other end of the field, however, Academy’s athletes seemed to wait for a perfectly clear shot rather than taking any chances. 

Once the Knights started getting used to where Academy’s defenses were lined up, they switched up their game just enough by having their strikers push higher and quicker to be the first to all the through balls that the Cougars were having a hard time catching up to. 

The Knights’ simple but effective switch up allowed for a perfect opportunity for Gabriella Flores to receive the ball just outside of the box as multiple Cougars swarmed towards her. Flores played with the defenders as much as she could to take the ball as close to the goal as she could before handing it off to Knight captain Ella Wigsten to take a perfect shot just out of the Cougar keeper’s reach and right under the crossbar, making the first and only point of the game.

With the score no longer 0 – 0, the Academy athletes picked up their intensity and aggression immediately, having their own close shots on the SJS goal before the half time whistle blew.

2nd Half

As soon as the game started back up, Cougar Hinengi San Nicolas amped up the game in keeping the Knights on their toes. 

Utilizing the left side of the field, San Nicolas drove down with the balls as she passed SJS defenses multiple times to get as many shots in as she could. 

To combat this, Knight goalkeeper Ha’ani Byerly intensified her already strong communication with the rest of the Knights on the field.

Players of the Game, Wigsten and Byerly, shared that the team had actually been working in practice to prepare for the kinds of shots that they knew they would be expecting from the Cougars, most especially from SanNicolas, and started adjusting themselves accordingly when they saw her stepping up her game on the field. 

“I know how SanNicolas plays, so I was trying to play more conservatively,” states Byerly. “I allowed my defense to do the work and so I could just be ready for the shots and it worked. It gave me time to set and my defense did a really good job.”

On top of the exhaustion as the game neared the end, frustration showed on the Cougars as none of their shots landed, each being either saved by Byerly or ricocheting off the left goal post. 

Down to the last five minutes, San Nicolas was taking yet another shot that landed just a little too much to the left as Knight Yzabella Saddo had taken it upon herself to ensure San Nicolas had as little room as possible to move anywhere she went on the field and succeeding in doing so as the whistle blew to end the game and the Cougars were left unable to even the score.

Players of the Game

Wigsten and Byerly are proud of themselves and the team as they know that the work that the girls had been putting into practice paid off. Still, the girls are planning on staying driven for playoffs as they have just one more regular season game left before the quarterfinals. 

“We’re still going to bring the same energy. We’re still going to keep pushing. We’re still going to keep working on our shots and our defense,” Wigsten ends to note her team’s dedication to working for a spot in the finals.

Wendy’s Players of the Game: Goalie Ha’ani Byerly and Scorer Ella Wigsten

Upcoming Matches

The Knights are expected to have their toughest match of the season this Monday, May 6, as they go up against the top seeded team that is the Islanders on the green-and-gold team’s home field. For the Cougars, however, this was their final regular season game of the season and they will be awaiting the start of playoffs to see who they face first on May 10.

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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Congratulations @seadancer_bailey
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Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

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