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Paularino makes history

Daily Pilot Cup

Panthers shut out Harbor View to capture boys' fifth- and sixth-grade silver division title, the school's first.

June 02, 2013|By Matt Szabo

COSTA MESA — The moment that Marco Argueta had envisioned for years finally became reality Sunday afternoon at the Daily Pilot Cup.

Argueta, the Paularino Elementary liaison, made sure the school's Principal Stacy de Boom-Howard didn't miss the photo opportunity.

"Get your iPhone ready," Argueta told de Boom-Howard in the waning seconds of the boys' fifth- and sixth-grade silver division championship match at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

Paularino made history, winning its first-ever title at the tournament. Danny Molina scored twice, Miguel Ramirez and Samee Dokovic added goals and the Panthers blanked Harbor View, 4-0.

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"They just added sixth grade [at Paularino] last year, so we didn't have an older team before," Argueta said. "This is a pretty phenomenal story. You have to build the program from scratch ... Now we've got some parents and the administration involved.

"It feels great and it's incredible. All of the time it's taken to build the program, it's paid off now. Five or six years ago, we had volunteers from Costa Mesa High School [as coaches], juniors and seniors. Now, we've kept the program running and we get a first place."

De Boom-Howard said Paularino had five teams in this year's tournament, the most in the school's history. A few years ago Paularino was a kindergarten through third-grade school, and had just one team in the Pilot Cup.

"These boys worked extremely hard," said de Boom-Howard, adding that she checked out Paularino teams playing on the final three days of the tournament. "The dedication of the boys and the parents made a huge difference. I'm proud of their sportsmanship, also. They're a really good group of kids."

Molina, a Paularino fifth-grader, started the scoring in the 18th minute. The Panthers took the 1-0 lead into halftime before they erupted.

Molina scored again in the 34th minute. It was a rebound goal, after a long free kick from Ramirez clanged off the crossbar. Five minutes later, Molina crossed it from the left to Dokovic, who was able to score into the upper part of the net.

Paularino, coached by Issy Dokovic, overwhelmed Mariners, 6-1, in the semifinals. The Panthers did not stop in the championship match, despite playing with just two substitutes. Ramirez added the last goal, from the outside.

Defenders Eddy Martinez, Han Nguyen, Jonathan Barton and Brian Hernandez helped Paularino preserve the shutout. Goalie Joseph "Jojo" Regalado made a handful of saves.

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