Shirley’s, Southern United split titles


Jerlyn Castillo lands a goal for Shirley’s during the Division A finals match of the  2021 Dove Spring season that concluded back in Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Contributed Photo)

The title matches in both Divisions A and B of the 2021 Dove Spring season went down to-the-wire with champions decided by penalty shootouts last Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

In Division A, four Shirley’s FC players hit their target during the penalty shootout to clinch the title. In Division B, three players from Southern United landed goals during the penalty shootout to be named champions.

Last Sunday, Shirley’s came out on top with a 4-3 (PK) victory over Southern United behind Katrina Costales, Jullianne Hall, Jeralyn Castillo, and Francesca Bucalig all landing their shots during the penalty shootout.

Southern United fell short by just one goal, with three of its players—Britany Wally, Christina Atalig, and Summer Manahane—making their shots.

An intense finals game transpired between the two teams leading to the eventual penalty shootout. Southern United held the lead in the first half of the match, but Shirley’s came from behind in the second half, ending the match in a draw.

Pia Ngewakl took the lead for Southern United just 13 minutes into the match, while Wally widened the gap with another goal in the 19th minute to give their team a two-goal advantage before the end of the first half. Later, just a minute into the second half of the game, a goal from Atalig gave Southern the upper hand, now at a 3-0 advantage over its foe.

During the second half, Shirley’s started to pick up the pace, playing more aggressive and more organized compared to the first half. Just 3 minutes into the game, Castillo landed a goal in the 33rd minute kickstarting Shirley’s comeback.

Costales followed up shortly after with back-to-back goals in the 37th and 40th minute to close in on Southern United brining the score up 3-3.

Southern United, feeling the pressure, fought to gain the lead back in the final few minutes of the match with Wally nearly landing a few goals, but Mae Ito seemed to anticipate every shot, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, in Division B, Southern United took home the title from under Shirley’s by a 3-2 (PK) victory as Megan Elayda, Mariana Castro, and Rosie Sarulu landed their goals in the penalty shootout.

For Shirley’s, only Marrielle Gariguez and Marilou Arriola landed their goals in the penalty shootout.

Southern United took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal from Keisha Deleon Guerrero but 10 minutes later, Shirley’s Jeraldine Castillo evened the playing field with a goal in the 26th.

Neither of the teams managed to break the tie before the end of the game resulting in the penalty shootout.

Also winning their matches were Kanoa and TanHoldings to land third place for Division A and B, respectively.

A goal from Khristelle Itaas gained the title for Kanoa in the 26th minute.

Later in Division B, a goal from TanHoldings’ Neriah Nicole Lumbad in the 31st minute secured the win for her team.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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