Hopwood Middle School and Mt. Carmel School eased their way to the finals of the 2019-2020 Public School System /Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Interscholastic Soccer League.
The Hilitais and Lady Knights set up their title showdown in the middle school division after crushing their respective opponents in a pair of semis matches yesterday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. Hopwood pounced on Saipan International School, 17-1, while Mt. Carmel hammered Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, 5-0.
Kaithlyn Chavez towed the Lady Knights to the shutout win over FMS as the CNMI Girls U19 National Team member delivered all the goals in the one-sided match. She posted four of her goals in the first half to give Mt. Carmel the commanding lead and still closed out for the team for a complete dominance in the semis game. Chavez had her first goal in the fifth minute and the last four in the 12th, 22nd, 29th, and 49th.
Hopwood also took a comfortable lead in the first half of its semis duel against SIS, 8-0, behind the four goals of Rizza Relucio, and remained relentless in the second half for the lopsided victory.
Relucio scored right in the opening minute of the game and recorded her three other goals in the 13th, 24th, and 27th. Tamia Hix also had a strong start after adding a hat trick in the first 35 minutes of play. Hix hit the board in the fifth, eighth, and 34th minute, while Hopwood’s other goal in the first half was courtesy of Drylenne Joseph in the 17th.
In the second half, Mary Joy Aniana became the fourth Hopwood player to find the back of the net with her conversion in the 36th minute. The Hilitais kept going with Relucio adding three more goals (45th, 46th, and 49th minute), Aniana also earning a hat trick with her shots in the 48th and 55th minute, and Julie Ann Capayas, Viance Mangulabnan, and Sophia Quintos chipping in one goal apiece late in the game.
SIS averted a shutout loss, thanks to Martha Culp’s goal in the 65th minute.
Hopwood’s win over the Geckos was its third in the season, as the Hilitais defeated Mt. Carmel, 5-3, and Chacha Oceanview, 11-2, in the elimination round in Group B. The Lady Knights also topped Chacha, 4-1, to take the second semis ticket in Group B.
In Group A, FMS and SIS had similar 1-1-0 win-draw-loss records to reach the semifinals. The Napu Riders and Lady Geckos settled for a draw in their elimination round game, 1-1, and then both prevailed against Dandan Middle School (6-0 for FMS and 3-1 for SIS).
Meanwhile, the winner-take-all championship game between Hopwood and Mt. Carmel will take place on March 4 at 6pm.