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Surber records hat trick to lead offense
THE Leo Palace Resort Guam soccer field was the place to be yesterday afternoon as the East Asian Football Federation Women’s East Asian Cup Tournament kicked off.
Playing in the first scheduled match of the tourney were Guam (Masakada) and neighboring CNMI. Masakada got things started in the right direction as they easily cruised to a 6-0 victory over their opponents.
Masakada was all business from the opening whistle and immediately looked to strike first. Using their strength in speed and precision-passing, Masakada’s Paige Surber took the first shot-on-goal but was inches from giving her team their first lead. Later in the eighth minute of play, Arisa Recella created space between herself and CNMI defender Katie Peters that allowed her to take a shot that found the back of the goal for the game’s first score.
CNMI continued to run into some problems trying to get the ball downfield as the Masakada defense remained relentless and denied anything past midfield for most of the half. With half the time on the clock expired, Guam went up 2-nil after Surber back-kicked a missed shot by teammate Tanya Blas-Cruz. Surber was just starting to heat up from that point on and became an offensive scoring machine. In the 37th minute, Surber zipped a free kick right through the CNMI wall that upped the Guam lead to 3-nil.
Not willing to let down, Guam managed to add two more goals in the final three minutes of play. Surber recorded her hat trick in the 39th minute after converting a shot from right outside the 18-meter line. Moments before the whistle to signal halftime was blown, Andrea Odell posted Masakada’s fifth goal of the game.
Returning from the break, CNMI was looking to end the shutout as they started the second half playing a bit more aggressive. However, each time an opportunity arose, the stingy Guam defense denied any clear looks at the goal. Minutes into the half, Simmie Willter put Guam up 6-0 after hitting a shot from near midfield that put the crowd in attendance in awe.
CNMI had a golden chance to score their first goal late in the game as Jeralyn Castillo found herself on a one-on-one situation with Masakada goalkeeper Jena Cruz. However, a charging Cruz broke up the play while leaving an open goal. CNMI wasn’t able to capitalize on the unguarded goal area as the Masakada defense regrouped and preserved the shutout.
EAFF Women’s Asian Cup Tournament action resumes Thursday at 4 p.m. with CNMI taking on Hong Kong. Masakada returns to the pitch on Saturday as they take on Hong Kong.
On the men’s side, Guam (Matao) will open their tournament bid today at 4 p.m. as they take on CNMI at the Leo Palace Resort Guam field. Then on Friday, CNMI is scheduled to take on Macau at 4 p.m., while the Matao play their second match on Sunday vs. Macau.