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MASAKADA FALLS SHORT TO LEBANON 4-3

Guam loses in waning seconds

PRESS RELEASE – Guam led Lebanon twice in the opening match of the WAFF Women’s Championship Saudi 2024, but eventually lost 4-3 in the waning seconds of the match clock at the King Abdullah Sports City Hall Stadium Monday evening in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“We are obviously disappointed about the result,” said Kristin Thompson, Guam Women’s National Team Head Coach. “We always want to win. We had some great moments and the players were able to execute a lot of the tasks I asked of them. They played hard and were successful in scoring three goals. We will learn from our mistakes and prepare for the next game. We didn’t know what really to expect from this game; there were a lot of unknowns. Now we can learn and adjust.

Guam’s starting 11 players pose for a group photo ahead of the team’s match against Lebanon in the opening match of the WAFF Women’s Championship Saudi 2024 at the King Abdullah Sports City Hall Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Lebanon scored in stoppage time to win 4-3. In the photo are, front, from left to right: Yasmeen Lopez, True Dydasco, Maile Chargualaf, Lexi Taitague, Aida Pedemonte, and Aryanna Sanchez. In the back row from left to right are: Mariah Anaya, Mihaela Perez, Isabella Hara, Rebecca Bartosh, and Jenae Perez.

“We will recover, regroup and be ready to play again. I am excited to see how we can make these adjustments in preparation for our next game versus Jordan,” Thompson added.

Guam led 2-0 in the first 18 minutes of the game off finishes by Rebecca Bartosh on crosses from Mariah Anaya and Jenae Perez in the eighth and 18th minutes, respectively. The team stayed in control of the match and held off a frustrated Lebanon team through to halftime.

Lebanon began the second half with key substitutions that turned the game around for the West Asians. Veteran players, team captain Nathalie Matar and Christy Maalouf – who both play for clubs in France – were able to revive the Lebanese team’s organization on the pitch.

“The match obviously didn’t go the way we wanted to, but I think the team fought very hard,” Bartosh said. “We had a lot of ups and downs but I think there were a lot of positives to take away from the game. We still are a new team in a way, and I think we had a lot of good moments, a lot of good connections especially with girls coming from all over.

“I’m very proud of our effort today and obviously we’re just going to regroup as a team, find out the little things we need to fix, and get back at it,” Bartosh added.

Lebanon went to work quickly in the second half, reducing the deficit to just one goal about three minutes into the deciding half courtesy of Layla Iskandar and eventually leveling the match at 2-all by the 74th minute on a shot by Maalouf.

Guam’s Aryanna Sanchez prepares to send the ball forward against Lebanon in the opening match of the WAFF Women’s Championship Saudi 2024 at the King Abdullah Sports City Hall Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Lebanon scored in stoppage time to win 4-3.

Guam managed to regain the lead in the 84th minute on a Mariah Anaya lob finish from a Jenna Merrill through pass. Iskandar scored again in the 90th minute and finished with a hat trick with a final goal in stoppage time to win the match for Lebanon.

“It was a hard game – Guam’s team was a good team,” Iskandar said via a translator. “In the first half, we could have had a much better performance, I just thank God we were able to eventually win the game. 

“In this tournament, we can’t tell which game we will win – we are going to take it one at a time. Really, thank God we could come back in this game against Guam due to our fighter spirit,” Iskandar added.

In the match against Lebanon, four players made their debut for Guam at the senior women’s level: Yasmeen Lopez, Maile Chargualaf, Aida-Rose Pedemonte, and Aryanna Sanchez.

Guam next plays Jordan at 5 p.m. local time Wedneday, Feb. 21 (12 midnight Feb 22 Guam time). Lebanon will take on Saudi Arabia at 8 p.m. local time the same night (3 a.m. Feb. 22 Guam time)

Both matches will be available to view via Internet Live Stream on WAFF’s official Youtube channel, @WAFFootball

For supporters wanting Guam National Team merchandise, many options – including authentic Masakåda jerseys – are on sale online at https://gufanshop.myshopify.com

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COMING SOON …

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

Father Duenas Alumni Basketball Tournament

Guam National Triathlon Championship July 14

QUICK HITS

Ryleen Mya Castro was named team MVP for the St. Mary’s College of California Women’s Rugby team in only her sophomore season. Castro is a 2022 graduate from Guam High.
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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 in Nogales, Mexico. The victory guaranteed the U.S. a spot in the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.

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