The Newport Elementary and Newport Beach Carden Hall boys’ fifth-and sixth-grade Bronze Division teams have done little to separate themselves at this year’s Daily Pilot Cup.
Newport and Carden Hall have each scored 10 goals and allowed two through three Group A pool-play games. A 1-1 draw Friday at Costa Mesa High showed again that the teams are evenly matched.
Both teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Still, the Whales and Eagles will have a penalty-kick shootout Saturday at about 1:45 p.m. to decide the Group A winner, tournament spokesman Paul Hillson said.
The winner of the shootout will play Costa Mesa Wilson in a quarterfinal match at 2 p.m., while the loser will play Costa Mesa Paularino at the same time.
“I feel very nervous, but also excited,” Carden Hall fifth-grader Truman Kemp said of Saturday’s shootout. “I like penalty shootouts, but it puts a lot of pressure on people.”
Kemp helped put Carden Hall in the position to advance. His corner kick from the left in the 44th minute found the foot of Collin Woodruff at the back post, tying the score.
“I knew we had to tie it up,” Woodruff said. “Truman had a perfect corner kick that went straight over them, straight to me at the back post. I just hit it in.”
Playing south-to-north with the wind, Carden Hall put pressure on Newport throughout the second half. Aiden Pearson also had a couple of shots that came close, including one that went off the left goal post, though Newport goalkeeper Tucker Rosenberger did make four of his five saves in the second half.
Rosenberger also saved a point-blank shot from Nina Hartmann, which also came off a corner kick.
“It was great,” Carden Hall coach Rich Han said. “They knew they had to score, and they just kept pushing.”
Carden Hall has six sixth-grade girls — Hartmann, sweeper Cecelia Nelson, defender Reese Sankey, Kendall Schmidt, Sofia McHugh and Madison Shinder — on its team.
“Our school is a little smaller than some other schools, and we didn’t have enough players to field a fifth-sixth boys’ [team],” Han said. “These six girls agreed to join our team so we could make a team. That was cool. I thought that was very much in the spirit of Pilot Cup.”
Jack Melenick, Abraham Abbasi, Alexander Nickin, Sherman Martinez and Dylan Han also contributed for Carden Hall. Han and Nickin helped shore up the defense along with goalkeeper Emilio Lopez, who made five saves.
Nelson said the Carden Hall defense was improved from the first two pool-play matches.
Trevor Glynn had put Newport ahead in the 20th minute, when he stole the ball from a defender and put a shot into the left corner of the net.
Jack Orozco, Kailash Voleti, Ryan Ciongoli and Maxx Pellegrino were key defenders for Newport. Newport coach Scott Fontana said he was happy with his team’s effort, noting that just three players on the squad — Lenz Fontana, Pierce Brown and C.J. Orpineda — play club soccer.
Michael Gruber and Zeke Rubinstein also contributed for Newport. Scott Fontana said three of his top players — John Pena, Tony Glynn and Jaxon Guyser — were absent Friday. They were playing in a Super Bowl at Orange County Great Park as part of the Matt Leinart Flag Football league.
“We had zero subs,” said Fontana, who expects to have his full roster available for Saturday.
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