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Eagles keep moving

Estancia shuts out Diamond Ranch in CIF Division 5 wild-card playoff match on Tuesday.

February 19, 2014|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

Two months ago, Estancia High was one of the host sites of the North Orange County Classic. One of the schools in the boys' soccer tournament was Pomona Diamond Ranch. The two programs didn't play each other at Jim Scott Stadium because they played in different divisions.

They finally squared off on Tuesday, at the start of another tournament. The winner kept playing and the loser went home for good in this tournament.

The Eagles played host and they stayed alive by beating Diamond Ranch, 2-0, in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs. They scored early and late to claim their second wild-card win in as many seasons.

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The Eagles (13-5-5) travel to Thermal Desert Mirage (12-6-3) on Thursday for a first-round match. Getting to Desert Mirage will take Estancia a little more than 2 hours.

The 139-mile trip is one Coach Robert Castellano expected his Eagles to make, even after their disappointing finish in Orange Coast League play last week. They played Godinez, the top team in league, and lost, 4-0, suffering their most lopsided setback of the season, and then they faced Calvary Chapel, the worst team in league, and tied, 2-2.

"I wasn't worried," Castellano said about how his Eagles would respond in their postseason opener. "I knew we couldn't play worse than in the last two games."

The Eagles bounced back, helping their cause was having midfielder Marco Pineda back after he missed the previous three matches with a bruised knee. Castellano calls the senior the heart and soul of the team.

In the first minute, it was midfielder Abarham Cortez who lifted Estancia's spirit.

A bad clearance by the Panthers (12-9-4) in the box cost them. The ball popped up, and Cortez backpedaled before doing a small bicycle kick, striking the ball over goalkeeper Antonio Lozano's gloves for the goal.

Lozano found himself in another predicament 13 minutes later.

Kevin Pizarro, Estancia's leading goal scorer, was in a one-on-one situation with the keeper. Pizarro had a chance to produce his 12th goal of the season, but near the top of the box, he hesitated and looked for the assistant referee to raise his flag for an offside infraction.

The flag never went up. Instead of attacking Lozano, Pizarro took a shot and it went wide left.

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