COSTA MESA — The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t the only team chasing a title these days behind the scoring wizardry of a player known as Kobe.
Mariners Christian School’s version, forward Lauren Kobayashi, whom rooters exhorted and praised by the nickname Kobe, scored twice Tuesday to propel the Dolphins to a 4-1 Daily Pilot Cup triumph over Wilson in the pool-play opener of the girls’ fifth- and sixth-grade gold division at the Farm Sports Complex.
Unlike her more heralded namesake, Kobe Bryant, Kobayashi had more than a handful of helpers on the Mariners Christian roster, as the Dolphins scored the game’s first three goals, as well as its last.
Sara Smith opened the scoring for the winners, popping in a rebound that popped out of the grasp of the goalkeeper in front of the net just 24 seconds into the 25-minute first half.
Kobayashi then took over. She peppered the far side of the net with a shot from the right wing in the 11th minute, then saw her drive toward roughly the same spot go in, after a Mariners Christian player made a failed attempt to redirect it, for another first-half tally.
Jenny Guillen got Wilson on the scoreboard late in the first half.
Gabriella McAdam poked in a well-directed cross from Kobayashi to finalize the scoring late in the second half of a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.
Mariners Christian goalkeeper Hilary Beale spent most of the first half about 25 yards out of the cage, watching her offense control possession and continually create scoring chances.
Wilson’s offense centered around Guillen, who darted and dribbled through and around defenders with deft skill.
But, in the end, Mariners Christian had too many weapons.
Among those who also showed their skills for the Dolphins were Katalina Aviles, Kendall Schmidt, Hannah Graves, Maddy Deverian, Lauren Grable, Kristen Allen, Mackenzie Morsey and Madeline Bubb.
“Our girls held their shape really well, played the ball wide and passed the ball well,” said Mariners Christian Coach Matt Morsey, who was aided by the presence of assistant coaches Jack McBean and Greg Allen. McBean and Allen were both members of the 2009-10 CIF Southern Section and Southern California Regional champion Corona del Mar High boys’ soccer team.
Wilson received additional strong play from Samantha Ferreyra, Sonia Nieto and goalie Jocelyn Alanis.