Mesa's Miller time

Costa Mesa junior records game-winning goal to lift Mustangs past her former school, Estancia Tuesday.

January 25, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — Darian Miller said she heard the crowd and felt the punches to the face.

Miller did not receive the warmest greeting in her return to Estancia High Tuesday. She was now a member of the school's rival, Costa Mesa.

When her feet touched the soccer ball, fans yelled, "Traitor! Traitor!" When she dribbled for too long, a former classmate at Estancia kept fouling her hard.

Miller finally struck back with seven minutes left to play. She used her left foot to knock off the Eagles at Jim Scott Stadium.

The junior scored the game-winning goal, elevating Costa Mesa to a 1-0 victory and handing Estancia its first Orange Coast League setback. The Eagles walked off the field stunned.


They expected to be 5-0 in league play. A sign with that record hung on Estancia's side before the match started.

After 80 minutes of play, the sign ended up in Miller's hands. A teammate grabbed what was left of the sign. Miller knew what to do with it.

"I'm going to tear it up because they're not 5-0," Miller said.

"It was motivating me to kick their [butt] even harder. Just to shove it in their face, which we did."

Miller proved to be the difference maker in helping the Mustangs beat Estancia for the first time since Jan. 31, 2008.

Miller said she spent only half of her sophomore year at Estancia. The striker said she left because she did not like the school.

This is Miller's first season playing high school girls' soccer. Costa Mesa Coach Dan Johnston is glad to have her because the Mustangs are back in the hunt to contend for a league title.

Costa Mesa closes the first round of league with two straight victories and is now 3-2 in league, one game behind Estancia in the standings. The two teams last won a league crown in 2008-09, when they shared it that season.

The Eagles are tied once again atop the league after missing an opportunity to remain alone in first place. They are 4-1, tied with Calvary Chapel.

It was not supposed to play out that way, not after the Eagles controlled most of the action and created the most scoring chances.

"I am 100% unimpressed with my team right now," Estancia Coach Jessica Gatica said. "All we did [Monday during practice] was shooting. [My players] bought into the hype. They were, 'Oh, we're going to do this. Oh, we're going to do that,' and then they cracked under pressure. We gave up a really soft goal. We had plenty of opportunities to put it away early."

The missed opportunities came back to bite Estancia.

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