COSTA MESA — At first glance, it was the passing and scoring that led to the Newport Heights Elementary players' screaming and hugging that followed the Sharks' 4-2 victory over Carden Hall in the championship game of the Daily Pilot Cup third- and fourth-grade girls' gold division on Sunday.
But deeper consideration might indicate that all that celebratory togetherness provided an explanation behind the cohesiveness on the soccer pitch that spawned the triumph at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.
"We had a lot of good passing and teamwork," Newport Heights Coach Kim Coyne said. "Our girls like each other and they play well together."
Perhaps no game rewards playing well with others more than soccer and the Sharks were the clear beneficiaries all tournament long. Newport Heights outscored the five opponents it conquered, 25-10.
In the final, it was movement, as much as passing that helped key the victory, as the Newport Heights' defense proved catalytic on each of their counterattack goals, including a couple of breakaway tallies by Skylynn Rodriguez that put the match out of reach.