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Pilot Cup girls' 3-4 gold division: Newport Heights has winning blend

Sharks cohesiveness helps produce school's first title in girls' 3-4 gold division.

June 03, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
(Don Leach | Daily…)

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.

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Nicole Laz scored from 30 yards out to open the scoring in the 22nd minute and Ella Hopkins extended the halftime lead with a goal five minutes after intermission.

Laz's score came quickly after Newport Heights gained possession near midfield and went on the attack.

Hopkins' goal occurred when she won a 50-50 sprint with the Carden Hall goalie on a ball about 10 yards in front of the Eagles' net. Hopkins poked the ball to the outside, then averted a collision with the keeper, whose momentum carrier her away from the play. Hopkins then popped the ball into the net for what appeared to be a commanding cushion.

The advantage widened when Rodriguez ran onto a through ball near midfield, widened the gap on the chasing defenders as she walked in on the goalkeeper, and found the net with a driving shot in the 50th minute.

After Sadie Pitchess deftly lobbed a shot over a back-peddling goalkeeper into the top of the net from 20 yards in front to put Carden Hall on the scoreboard, Rodriguez once again used her speed to all but kill any Eagles' comeback hopes.

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