“I really enjoyed playing in this tournament – it’s fun and we get to play against teams from the other middle school league.”
The Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School Obispos were unstoppable in their championship title defense of the Guam Football Association Girls Middle School “Sugar N Spice” Soccer Festival, outscoring opponents by eight goals in three matches en route to its second-straight title Saturday.
The Obispos stamped its authority early in the 9th Annual festival, defeating the F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School Hawks in their tournament opener and after, the CDR William C. McCool Elementary/Middle School Seahawks in the semifinals. The Obispos later hoisted the championship trophy and showcased individual medals after defeating 2013 champions Agueda I. Johnston Middle School Pirates 2-0 in the tournament final. The tournament title adds to the winning team’s third-consecutive IIAAG Middle School Girls Soccer League title, earned last month.
“It took a strong team bond that we’ve built over the weeks of the season to make all this happen,” said the Obispos’ Lauren Phillips, a seventh grader at the Sinajana school. “Our coaches always tell us to stay focused on our game and work with our teammates to win for ourselves and for the school. That’s what we had to do to win.
“I really enjoyed playing in this tournament – it’s fun and we get to play against teams from the other middle school league. We get to see talent from the teams in the other league. We never played against Agueda until (Saturday) in the tournament final – we heard that they were really tough and aggressive in games and I think we prepared well for that,” added the 12-year-old, who also plays for the Guam Shipyard Wolverines in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth League.
The Obispos did their homework against the Pirates, countering their opponents’ physicality with good passing and speed on the wings. Phillips struck first for the Obispos, using her speed to needle through Pirates defenders and find space to slot in her shot from the left side to the opposite post. Minutes later, teammate Celine Cruz doubled her team’s advantage after chasing down a through ball and finishing a one-on-one play with the AIJMS keeper for the eventual final score.
In addition to the Obispos, Hawks, Seahawks and Pirates, 11 other school teams competed in the 2016 edition of the tournament – Astumbo Middle School Dragons, Harvest Christian Academy Eagles, Inarajan Middle School Warriors, Jose L.G. Rios Middle School Voyagers, Luis P. Untalan Middle School Wildcats, Oceanview Middle School Knights, St. Anthony Catholic School Raiders, St. Francis School Crusaders, St. John’s School Knights, St. Paul Christian School Warriors and the Vicente S.A. Benavente Middle School Roadrunners.
St. John’s School finished in third, defeating the Seahawks 4-1 in the tournament’s consolation match. Jadyn Palomares scored three for the Knights in the win and Gabby DePriest also scored. Logyn Lallatin scored for the Seahawks.
The Roadrunners were recognized as the tournament’s silver bracket winners in an awards ceremony following the championship match.
The festival, part of GFA’s youth development program supported by Japan Football Association, and an event as part of the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign in Guam, provides an opportunity for players from two different interscholastic middle school girls soccer leagues to play in a single-day tournament in one venue. The tournament also kicked off a weekend of girls and women’s soccer in celebration of International Women’s Day and AFC Women’s Football Day, traditionally observed on March 8.