South Pacific Academy beat the Faga’itua Vikings 2-0 to clinch the ASHSAA Girls’ soccer varsity title on Monday, March 19, 2018 at Pago Park Soccer Stadium.

SPA’s second straight trip to the championship game ended on a high note, with the Dolphins going home with the title. Last year they battled and lost to the Tafuna Warriors.

Elcy Lui of SPA was named MVP of the championship game, but it was tough selection as a host of players played well enough to earn the distinction.

Among the outstanding players was goalkeeper Anastasia Tue, who stepped up with several big saves in the first half when the tide turned in favor of the Vikings. There were defenders Jane Faumuina and Nancy Satele, both played central defence and halted Faga’itua’s attacks. Then there was their captain and inspirational leader, Monique Hollister, as she hustled all over the field in support of the attack or defence.

Faga’itua, had they won, also had a good number of players that played well enough to be named MVP. Princess Fegauia’i led the attack for the Vikings, and had several opportunities to score herself. Tulima Mauga hustled to both ends of the field, while goalie Rayxena Tauoa played well on her end. The defenders were the best part for the Vikings, with sisters Olyvia and Olyann Ta’ase, and Jade Pan giving SPA’s attackers trouble all throughout the game.

SPA finally broke through eight minutes into the second half thanks to an assist from Lui to Deiondre Ott. A Tauoa goal kick did not go far, it got past the edge of the penalty area and Jessica Satele was able to pounce on it and head it forward. Lui was the first to the ball and she passed it to an unmarked Ott who slotted it in the for the game’s goal.

With five minutes remaining in the game, it was a foot race from midfield between Lui and Faga’itua’s defenders with the former having control of the ball. Lui took a shot at goal from inside the penalty area but the ball went off the crossbar, luckily for her the rebound came straight back and she kicked it into the far post for the goal.

This is the second straight year Lui has been named MVP in the championship game, as she received the same award last year while playing for Tafuna.

Lui attends Nu’uuli Voc-Tech and with her school not fielding a team in girls’ soccer, just like last year she was free to choose any team to join. This year, she joined SPA, changing the old mantra of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them,’ to ‘if you can’t beat them, recruit them.’

Tafuna won the J-V title during the championship game last week.

DOE’s Liatama Amisone Sr. was on hand to give out the prizes for 1st, 2nd and the championship game’s MVP, awards sponsored by FFAS. He thanked the association, parents, teachers and especially the players for another great season. He said it the season was cut short due to Cyclone Gita but had still pushed for DOE to complete the girls’ soccer season.

FFAS President, Senator Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet, thanked DOE, especially the Athletics Office run by Amisone and Tumua Matu’u, for their help as well in ensuring this league is held every year, and run as smoothly as possible.

“This competition is vital to the development and continuance of women’s soccer in American Samoa,” Faiivae said.

“Our office has seen a big improvement to this league this year because of the involvement of many of these young women in our U-16 team last year,” said FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua. “These two teams alone, SPA and Faga’itua, have about eight girls between them that represented American Samoa in the women’s U-17 international tournament held last year in Samoa.

“Unfortunately we did not have a U-20 team as a lot of the girls from the varsity division qualify for it, but that is something we will be planning towards for next year. Again, thank you to DOE and all the schools for their support of this competition.”