Hopwood takes IFL crown

Posted on Mar 06 2020


Hopwood Middle School players and coaches pose with Northern Mariana Islands Football Association officials led by its president Jerry Tan, third right, and Public School System Athletics Program director Nick Gross, right, during the awards ceremony for the 2019-2020 PSS /NMIFA Interscholastic Soccer League last Wednesday night at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Contributed Photo)

Hopwood Middle School capped its perfect run in the girls middle school division of the 2019-2020 Public School System /Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Interscholastic Soccer League with a 7-4 win over Mt. Carmel School in their title duel last Wednesday night at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

Hopwood’s multiple options on offense made it easier for the Catherine Torculas-coached team to rule the winner-take-all finale. Five different players scored for the Hilitais with Rizza Relucio and Julie Ann Capayas delivering two goals apiece, and Sophia Quintos, Tamia Hix, and Mary Joy Aniana contributing one goal each. Tara Islam, Jermaine Gison, Bianca Mangulabnan, Direnalyn Castro, Christhena Amaro, and Drylenne Joseph are also members of the champion squad.

While Hopwood drew goals from different players to cruise to the finals win, it was the opposite for Mt. Carmel—which relied heavily on Kaithlyn Chavez.

Chavez scored all three goals for the Lady Knights with her first recorded in the closing minute of the first half that ended with Hopwood threatening to pull away, 4-1.

The Hilitais got back-to-back goals from Relucio in the first half, as she hit the board right in the first minute and sixth, while Capayas made it three in a row for Hopwood when she found the back of the net in the ninth. Quintos also posted her goal in the first half (10th minute) and Hopwood seemed ready shut to shut down Mt. Carmel until Chavez ended the drought in the 30th minute.

Hix took the one goal back with her conversion in the 38th minute for Hopwood’s 5-1 and the Hilitais went on to keep their safe distance against Mt. Carmel despite yielding two goals to Chavez, as Capayas and Aniana matched the Lady Knights’ pair.

With its finals triumph, Hopwood, which swept all the four games this season, was handed the championship plaque during the awards ceremony attended by NMIFA officials led by its president, Jerry Tan, Hopwood principal Dr. Rizalina Liwag, and PSS Athletics Program director Nick Gross.

Both NMIFA and PSS also recognized at the awards ceremony runner-up Mt. Carmel and third placer Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, which topped Saipan International School, 6-2, in the consolation game.

Summer Manahe and Megan Elayda scored three goals each in FMS’ win over SIS, which got its twins goals from Martha Culp and Savita Sikkel.

Hopwood Middle School’s Rizza Relucio scored two goals in their 7-4 finals win over Mt. Carmel School in the 2019-2020 Public School System/Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Interscholastic Soccer League last Wednesday night at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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