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High School girls varsity soccer playoffs set

The ASHSAA Girls soccer regular season came to an end on Friday, March 17, 2017 with the final four teams set — No. 1 Fa’asao-Marist, No. 2 Samoana, No. 3 South Pacific Academy and No. 4 Tafuna.

Faga’itua and Leone finished in 5th and 6th place, respectively, and out of the playoff picture.

The playoffs — No. 1 vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 — will be held on Monday, March 20 at four p.m. at the Pago Park Soccer Stadium in Pago Pago. The championship game is set for Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

In the junior varsity division, the season also ended with Tafuna beating Samoana 5-0 to overtake Leone for second place, behind back-to-back champions, the Fa’asao-Marist Cougars. The playoffs is for the varsity division only.

PLAYOFFS

No. 1 COUGARS vs. No. 2 WARRIORS

The Warriors are No. 4 in the standings, but against the Cougars, they are 1-0-1 during the season.

On Feb. 2, Tafuna beat the defending champions 2-0 thanks to goals from Mala Mataiao.

She scored both of her goals in the first half, and then Tafuna held on in the second for the win. They will again be relying on Mataiao against Fa’asao-Marist, but with the added help of Elcy Lui, a star player from the J-V squad that was moved up to the varsity team.

For the Cougars, they have the best defender in Juliana Radinikadvau, who also can turn on the boosters to go forward and score, as she did against Samoana two weeks ago. Her supporting cast includes Taira Uhrle, Susan Godinet and Cassie Mahuka, key players Fa’asao-Marist will be relying on to carry them to a second straight championship game.

The second meeting between these two schools on Feb. 25 ended in a 1-1 tie, with both goals coming in the first half. Fa’asao-Marist started off the season slow at first, but their form picked up in the last three weeks of the season to earn the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.

Tafuna also got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, and has had its ups and downs throughout as they had to fight hard for the fourth and final playoff berth. The Cougars, as the No. 1 see, are the favorites, but must be careful against the Warriors because they have a loss and a tie against them during the season.

No. 2 SHARKS vs. No. 3 DOLPHINS

These teams met twice, and walked away with a win each against one another.

In the first game, Samoana barely won with a 1-0 scoreline, and that goal did not come until the waning minutes of the game on Feb. 13. Also in that game, their two best players were on opposite ends of the field, with Monique Hollister playing in the midfield, and Rapiel Fa’ata’a at the back as defender.

In the second game, the SPA coaches changed tactics and moved Fa’ata’a to the front, and a new defender shone in that match on March 8 as Jane Faumuina stepped up and was able to help contain Samoana’s dangerous attacker, Lei Amisone.

Amisone was the hero for Samoana in the Feb. 13 meeting, but with Amisone neutralized, Fa’ata’a was able to run free up front to the tune of a hat trick, scoring all of the Dolphin’s goals in a shocking 3-0 win.

That win put SPA in the No. 1 spot briefly, showing a different team that gained form in the latter half of the season after a slow start. As for Samoana, they got off to a hot start, and for a while were the No. 1 team in the competition before losing to SPA and the Cougars in the last two weeks of the regular season.

It will be a winner take all between these two teams when they meet on Monday, March 20.

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