The Samoana Sharks won the ASHSAA Boys varsity soccer championship in a penalty shootout on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at Pago Park Soccer Stadium.
Samoana came back from a 2-0 deficit against the SPA Dolphins to force an extra period, and subsequent kicks from the spot to determine the winner of this year’s division.
It was a reversal of last year’s final, where the Dolphins had to come back from a 2-1 deficit to win over Samoana 3-2.
In last Thursday’s game, the Sharks just kept attacking and attacking in the second half, and with the wind against their backs, that played a big factor in determining the outcome of the match. SPA’s goal and clearance kicks lost a lot of distance kicking into the wind, and at the same time it gave Samoana great field advantage.
Samoana’s two goals were both scored late in the second half.
Eteva Mauga struck the ball perfectly, and the it zipped right by SPA defenders and the goalie for Samoana’s first score. It came after a back and forth between Samoana attackers and SPA defenders, with the former trying to shoot it while around the penalty box, and the latter blocking the shots. After a shot was blocked, the rebound rolled to Mauga who then blasted it into the near post to half the deficit at 2-1.
The equalizer was possible after SPA failed to clear a cross inside the penalty area, but it was a perfect pass for Fa’avavau Lilio of Samoana as he one-touched it before blasting it past the goalie.
After the extra period went scoreless, Samoana had no troubles during the penalty shootout as their first four shooters were able to convert. SPA, on the other hand, saw two of their shots blocked by the game’s championship MVP, Bethel Taugavau.
SPA’s goals came in the 15th minute of the match on a penalty kick that was converted by Joshua Tabui. Their second goal, giving them a 2-0 lead, was scored by Akuila Tovola Jr., 12 minutes into the second half. Tovola beat two defenders to the ball, and Taugavau missed the ball when he came out of his area on a closing down run. This left the goal wide open for Tovola to slot it in the score.
Samoana was the league’s No. 1 team going into the playoffs, but had it tough during the playoffs with close wins all the way from the quarterfinals. They edged Kanana Fou Stallions 1-0, then eeked by Iakina 1-0 also.
The No. 3 seeded Dolphins also reached the final after hard fought wins, a come from behind 3-2 decision over No. 4 Vikings in the quarterfinals. They then won in the semifinal after the game went to a penalty shootout against No. 2 seed Tafuna Warriors, after a 2-2 tie. In that game SPA equalized in the last five minutes of the match to force the extra period, and the subsequent shootout.