EJ Sablan's hat trick powers FD over Guam High

HAT TRICK: The Father Duenas Memorial School Friars' EJ Sablan, far right, leads the pack to the ball during an IIAAG boys soccer game on Wednesday, May 12, at Guam High in Agana Heights. Sablan scored three goals and the Friars defeated the Panthers 6-0. Sophie Forsyth/For The Guam Daily Post

In the Father Duenas Memorial School soccer team’s second Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam game of the season, Guam High School’s first, the Friars crushed the Panthers 6-0.

With a hat trick from EJ Sablan, his third, fourth and fifth goals of the season, and a pair of precision scoring strikes strikes from Nainoa Norton, his second and third goals in two games, the Friars easily contained the Panthers on Wednesday night in Agana Heights.

Evenly matched for the first 15 minutes, the Friars pressured the Panthers defense. With the teams feeling each other out and trying to determine weaknesses, Friars forward EJ Sablan took advantage of an early scoring opportunity. Sablan’s goal proved to be the game-winner.

In FD's first two games, a 5-0 win over the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles and the 6-nil blanking of Guam High, Sablan’s opening goals held up to be game-winners.

About 10 minutes after the scoring strike, the game turned tense when Guam High’s Blaise Alig and Father Duenas’ Nicolas Chargualaf collided at a high rate of speed. The Panther, appearing to get the worse of the mishap, was taken to the hospital. Nicolas Chargualaf appeared to have a nasty head laceration.

After a lengthy stoppage of play, an energized Roy Chargualaf scored a Friars goal.

Despite losing a player to injury, the Friars drew motivation from the incident and remained steadfast. After leading 1-nil at the half, the Friars were hungry for more 

“All I could think of was that I needed to score because we had started off strong early in the game and we needed to finish,” said Sablan, who, in scoring his second goal, had baited and faked out the Guam High goalkeeper.

Sablan shared that the team's high-level performance was inspired by their injured teammate.

“We knew we needed to play harder for him. Score more goals for him,” Sablan said. … “I owe our victory to everyone. Everyone did a good job today.” 

Although the Panthers season opener didn’t result in a win, Guam High head coach Grant Severts described being out on the field, in and of itself, as a victory.

“With COVID hitting us pretty hard, it was nice to see the team on the field and playing,” he said. “Overall, I’m pleased about how we played.

“We have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things we can improve on, but I'm pleased on how they are coming together in such a short time.”

The Panthers’ Keean Fejeran, recognizing Guam High was outmatched, liked his team’s effort.

“It was a pretty tough team, but I feel like we had a good defense, for right now. … And I feel like we held up pretty well,” he said.