Daily Pilot Cup: Pomona pounces back

Daily Pilot

COSTA MESA — Things didn't look too good early on for the third- and fourth-grade girls from Pomona Elementary School.

Coach Juan Hernandez had big concerns about his Pomona team Wednesday.

Six minutes into the girls' silver division game at the Daily Pilot Cup, Pomona trailed Kaiser by one goal. Hernandez needed someone to respond.

Ashley Avalos did twice. Avalos recorded each of Pomona's goals to lift it to a 2-1 victory at Costa Mesa High.

Avalos scored the game-winner in the 39th minute. She beat the goalkeeper after freeing herself away from defenders with her speed.

"We came back," Hernandez said.

Kaiser began the game in an unfamiliar position during the tournament. Kaiser led. The day before, Kaiser lost to Harbor Day, 6-1.

This time, Kaiser started strong, getting a goal from Grace O'Neill. The defense slowed down Pomona's attack for much of the first half until three minutes before the break.

Avalos sped past defenders and easily beat the keeper to her right. At halftime, Kaiser regrouped.

Melissa Lima opened the second half with a solid scoring opportunity, but Pomona keeper Giselle Rios turned away the line-drive shot. Rios couldn't stop Kaiser's next big shot.

For Rios' sake, Riley Gore's shot toward the near post went wide. The missed opportunities came back to hurt Kaiser.

With the game knotted at 1-1 and 11 minutes to play, Avalos gained possession of the ball. She dribbled toward the attacking zone and put away the go-ahead goal.

"We had a lot of opportunities to score," Kaiser Coach Tim Clark said. "Their goalie was really good.

"[We played] a lot better than the first game. The girls played really hard."

Kaiser fought to the end. It earned one last shot to tie the game.

In the final minute, Lima found herself steps away from the goal line. She tried to tap the ball toward the left post, barely missing it.

"It was very tough," Clark said of losing for the second time in as many days.

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