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Kaiser back on top

12th Annual Daily Pilot Cup

Knights girls, led by Rodman and Nowak, escape with shootout victory over Newport Heights for first title in nine years.

June 05, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — It had been nine years since Kaiser had won a title at the Daily Pilot Cup.

That's a long time for one of the original schools in the tournament, now in its 12th year. And when Newport Heights scored early in Sunday afternoon's girls' third- and fourth-grade gold division title match, it started to look like the Knights might come up short once again.

Kaiser never panicked. It had the Trinity on its side.

Trinity Rodman scored in regulation and also had the first goal in the dramatic shootout that Kaiser won, 3-2, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation.

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Chanse Hill and Sami Nowak also scored in the shootout for Kaiser. Nowak, the Knights' goalie, then blocked a final Newport Heights attempt to preserve the victory.

It wouldn't have been possible without the breathtaking goal midway through the first half by Rodman, the daughter of former NBA all-star Dennis Rodman. The five-time NBA champion known as "The Worm" wasn't at Farm Sports Complex field No. 3 to watch Trinity play; a Kaiser parent said Dennis Rodman, a former Newport Beach resident, no longer lives in Southern California. Trinity's mother, Michelle, watched the action Sunday.

Trinity's goal was definitely something to behold. She took the ball at midfield and weaved through at least four Newport Heights players. Newport Heights goalie Maddy Alaluf charged, but Rodman snuck the ball into the left corner.

It was a shot in the arm for Kaiser, which had fallen behind in the third minute when Newport Heights' Kelcy Sweeny found the back of the net. Kaiser Coach John Fay, whose team also came back in a semifinal victory over Mariners, said his girls weren't fazed. Rodman had several times where she stole the ball and ran nearly all the way up the field.

"That's why I put her at center mid," Fay said of Rodman, one of just two third-graders on the team. "I know that position gives her the space to go wherever she wants. It's just incredible to see her play. I think she's going to be somebody to watch in the future."

The opponents were familiar. Newport Heights co-coaches Kim Coyne and Tom Robinson have coached their daughters, Helen and Sara, with players from Kaiser on the same team. Kim Coyne said they've coached Rodman, Hill, Nowak and Grace Fay on an AYSO Region 97 select team.

"We've played that group up [at under-12s] all spring," Coyne said.

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