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Carden Hall moves on

Daily Pilot Cup

Eagles battle St. John's to scoreless tie, but they advance to Saturday's quarterfinals.

May 31, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

COSTA MESA — Carden Hall has earned a reputation as a powerhouse in girls' soccer at the Daily Pilot Cup.

The Eagles won fifth- and sixth-grade gold division crowns in 2010 and '11. Last year, they made it to the third- and fourth-grade gold title match before falling to Newport Heights.

Well, the core of that team is now in fifth grade, and it means business.

Carden Hall dominated play in its final fifth- and sixth-grade gold division pool play game Thursday afternoon at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. And, though the Eagles settled for a scoreless tie with St. John the Baptist, they still won their pool and moved on to the quarterfinals.

Carden Hall will play a to-be-determined opponent in a quarterfinal Saturday at 2 p.m., back at Hammett field No. 1.

"They might be young, but they're experienced," said Carden Hall Coach Bryan Burns, who has nine returning fifth-graders from last year's finalists in the younger division. "We'll see what happens. Expectation-wise, I would say you never know. There's always that 'kick and chase' team that can get you ... we can probably play a kick and chase game and be more successful, to be honest with you, but for me it's about teaching the kids how to play a style."

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Though the Carden Hall side is mostly fifth-graders, they are experienced. Burns' daughter, Mia, plays club for SC Blues, while forward Mia Ferrentino and defender Jordan Needham both play for Slammers. Midfielder Sadie Pitchess plays for Newport-Mesa Soccer Club, and defender Evelyn Taylor plays for United FC.

Carden Hall controlled possession even while missing one of its top players, Nicole Ryu.

"She had a play that she was in," Bryan Burns said. "She was one of the key cast members. That's one of the balancing acts as a team in Pilot Cup."

Carden Hall appeared balanced overall, with Mia Burns and Gabby Valeriano pushing the action. Valeriano is just glad to be on the pitch. Last year she said she fractured her ankle in the tournament's second game and had to miss the rest of the action.

Ferrentino, Pitchess and Abby Blaine all got good looks at the goal in the first half. Blaine's was the closest, as her shot caromed off the right post. But St. John's sixth-grader Emma Warner, easily the tallest player on the field, did her best to limit Carden Hall's chances.

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