Guam – The Notre Dame Royals’ Demi-Rae Shimizu beat the Harvest Christian Academy offside trap to take a long pass from teammate Hopemary Calip straight to the goal for the lone score in the championship game of the 2nd Annual Girls High School Pre-Season Challenge Cup tournament at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.
In last year’s pre-season tournament, the Eagles managed to sneak past the Royals 1-0 in the semi-finals to send ND down to the silver bracket. Felicia Alumbaugh, who scored the goal in that contest, was shut down by the ND defense this year.
[Members of the Notre Dame Royals girls soccer team pose with the 2nd Annual GFA Challenge Cup Girls High School Pre-Season Tournament championship trophy after defeating the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles 1-0 at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.]
“When I was running to the goal with the ball, I was thinking, oh please don’t shank, don’t miss the goal,” Shimizu said after the awards ceremony. “I breathed a big sigh of relief after the ball went in. It also was great after when my teammates ran to me after the goal to show their support.
“After playing matches in this pre-season tournament, I know that our team still has a lot of work to do. We have the talent, but we just need to gel and bond as a team during the season,” the ND senior added.
[Members of the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles girls soccer team pose with the runner-up trophy of the 2nd Annual GFA Challenge Cup Girls High School Pre-Season Tournament at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. Harvest fell to the Notre Dame Royals 1-0 in the final.]
ND reached the finals by first defeating St. John’s School 2-0 on goals from Taylor Crisostomo and Shimizu. In the next round, the Royals defeated the Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars 2-0 with goals by Paris “Mames” Blas and Shimizu.
[The Notre Dame Royals’ Demi-Rae Shimizu looks to get around a St. John’s School opponent during an early match of the 2nd Annual GFA Challenge Cup Girls High School Pre-Season Tournament at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.]
The Eagles had a longer road to the final, challenged by a penalty kick shootout in their first match of the tournament. The Eagles managed to win the shootout against the George Washington High School Geckos 3-1. The Eagles and Geckos entered the shootout drawing 1-1 in regulation time on goals by Alumbaugh and GW’s Krystiana Martinez. Next, after a scoreless draw with the Simon Sanchez High School Sharks, the Eagles nipped their opponent 4-3 in the ensuing shootout. Alumbaugh and teammates Elisha Benavente, Maranatha Hennegan and Tatyana Ungacta were successful in their shots to set up the final with ND.
In the silver bracket, the Cougars defeated the Okkodo High School Bulldogs 1-0 on an early penalty kick by Gemilie Ilao.
[Members of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars pose with the silver bracket first-place trophy of the 2nd Annual GFA Challenge Cup Girls High School Pre-Season Tournament at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. The Cougars defeated the Okkodo High School Bulldogs 1-0 in the silver bracket’s final match.]
“The pre-season tournament is a good way to gauge where other teams are before we start the league,” said ND coach Noel Casilao after the championship match. “The teams this year look more or less balanced early on, but anything can happen during the season.
“The league’s defending champion, the Southern High School Dolphins, and some other schools didn’t play in this pre-season tournament, but despite that, the tournament was still good. It gets the players used to the pace of the game against actual opponents and shows where improvement is needed tactically and technically,” Casilao added.
The IIAAG High School Girls Soccer League kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday when the Eagles take on the Dolphins at Harvest. Later in the day, St. Thomas Aquinas School faces Guam High School at Guam High at 4:30 p.m. and the Sharks will officially open their season against the John F. Kennedy High School Islanders at JFK at 6:30 p.m.