For the second time in as many years, the John F. Kennedy High School Islanders won the Guam Department of Education Interscholastic Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Championship.
Two minutes from the first tap, JFK’s Jada Han already had two shots on goal – the first, sailing a few yards to the right, the second, clearing the crossbar. But by the third minute, there was no denying the 11th grader, who drilled a 10-yard shot past Southern High School Dolphins 10th grade goaltender Lareina Marion. Twenty-eight minutes later, Han struck again, a low, hard strike from 15 yards that passed Marion. Han, who finished with a hat trick, led the Islanders to a 5-2 victory.
“I came here to play, and that’s what we did and I’m so proud of my team because they work really hard in and out of practice,” Han said. “I’m overwhelmed by this.”
After his first two shots missed the mark, Han pulled himself together and dialed in his range.
“I was just really pumped up,” she said. “I was like, ‘Okay, let’s go,'” she said to herself. “And I kept shooting and I didn’t back down.”
When Han wasn’t scoring, the first-team All-Star forward was busy setting up her team with precision passing and a perfectly placed corner kick.
With five minutes left in the half, Han delivered a high, bloody corner kick to a wide-open Nevaeh Finona, who had a clear eye on goal. As the corner kick rose overhead before falling to the turf, Finona braced for impact. Throughout the Islanders’ perfect, undefeated season, she hadn’t scored a single goal and she was scared. Unsure how the impact might affect her if she got up for a header, the 4ft 11in forward was surprised when the ball landed at her feet. With no defender between her and the goal, she tapped in a shot for a goal.
“Honestly, I was scared,” Finona said. “I thought maybe it was going to hit my head or chest, but it ended up hitting my foot. And I was like, surprised.
As his shot rolled into the back of the net, his eyes seemed to widen and his mouth opened. As she covered her mouth with her hand, she jumped into the arms of a teammate.
“It’s like my first goal this season,” said the excited islander.
Finona said scoring the goal was amazing and she was grateful for the opportunity.
Throughout the season, Han and Finona had been working on converting corners in training and games.
“We worked on that throughout the games, trying to get that corner. I’m really proud of Nevaeh,” Han said. “And I’m really proud of the players because they really worked hard to be where they are now.”
With three minutes left in the half, Southern’s Cindy Maestrecampo, a ninth-grader, converted a penalty kick. In the second half, Maestrecampo added Southern’s second goal. In Southern’s two playoff games, Maestrecampo scored four goals.
Although Southern came off the field with a goal, JFK didn’t let it sour their temper. Han knew the momentum was still on their side and she was eager to get her hands on the gear.
“It’s a league game. So I think we were really motivated for both halves and we didn’t back down,” she said. “Southern came very strong, but we ended up coming back stronger. And we didn’t let the momentum of scoring that goal get us down.
Leading 3-1 at halftime, the Islanders returned to the field with the same intensity. In the 45th minute, JFK’s Jodee Halili scored from a penalty kick.
Six minutes later, from 30 yards out, Han fired a high shot that went over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net.
In the Islanders’ two playoff games, Han had a pair of hat tricks.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Han said. “My teammate, Cassandra (Kido) and Jodee, they really helped me score those three goals,” she said.