Mesa dominates

COSTA MESA — Peter Salas could feel his stomach rumbling as he stepped off the field at Jim Scott Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Costa Mesa High senior goalie and his teammates on defense had been promised In-N-Out Burger if they shut out Estancia in the first Battle for the Bell game.

The Mustangs did so until the very end, when the Eagles converted a penalty kick in stoppage time, merely a footnote in Costa Mesa's 4-1 victory.

Salas looked at Mesa assistant Coach Chris Sullivan after the match.

"That was my clean sheet," said Salas, who made nine saves. "I still deserve In-N-Out."

Sullivan said the boys will still get their reward. The Mustangs can rent out the burger joint or do whatever they want after beating their crosstown rival for the first time since Jan. 31, 2007.

It's only Mesa's second win over Estancia in the last 10 years in boys' soccer, and it further hurts the Eagles' chances for their fifth straight Orange Coast League title.

"This is our first time winning since, like, a long time ago," said Mesa senior Dong-Gi Shin, who scored twice. "I've played since sophomore year, we've never beat them. We worked really hard to win this game. I just don't know what to say. I'm just so happy."

Shin and the Mustangs (7-7-2, 3-2 in league) stay in second place halfway through league play, only behind Godinez (5-0). Their play on the pitch said plenty after scoring twice in the first 12 minutes of the game.

Sophomore forward Cesar Pineda found the back of the net first in the 10th minute, beating a drawn-out goalie near the top of the box. A minute later, the Eagles' Oscar Barannon nearly had the equalizer before Salas leaped and deflected the ball off the bar.

Mesa junior Jorge Sanchez soon gained possession around 40 yards out, and knew what to do with it. He sprinted to the left side of the box with four players giving chase, before shooting it back cross-cage for a 2-0 Mustangs lead.

Sullivan, who saw Estancia's Carlos Arriaza hit the bar with a shot just two minutes in, knew the Mustangs were in good shape after surviving the early Estancia barrage.

"A lot of their outside shots were testing us," said Sullivan, who had head coaching duties after Mesa Coach Alex Cordoba received a red card in his team's previous game. "The boys made some big plays as far as hitting them on the counterattack when they weren't ready, especially that goal with Jorge. Jorge pretty much created that goal by himself."

The Mustangs had Estancia (3-11-2, 1-4) on its heels, a rarity in the bell game. They scored again in the 29th minute, on Sanchez's cross into the box to Shin.

"We've came back hard," Sanchez said. "We lost our first two league games, and we came back and won two in a row. This is our third win in a row, and against our rival school. It's really important to take a good step in league, to win league this year."

Costa Mesa's Shin scored again on Pineda's cross from the left with nine minutes left, to the delight of some vocal female supporters in the stands. He blew them a kiss as he exited with the game in hand, before Eagles senior Memo Mendez scored on a penalty kick just before the final whistle.

Estancia Coach Robert Castellano saw senior goalie Edgar Vega make a couple of nice saves in the second half, although Castellano said Vega didn't play in the first half because he missed practice earlier in the week. What the Eagles are missing is goals, with just 16 scored in 16 games.

Salas and a young Mustangs defense, including junior Jesus Delgado, sophomore Oscar Dorantes and freshman Alexis Herrera, proved resilient.

"I think teams kind of get up for us," Castellano said of the four-time defending league champion Eagles. "As you can see, they get a little excited after they beat us. We've got a little 'X' on our back. Every team wants to beat us pretty badly, we've just got to get up for these games from the beginning. We've got the second half of league. We've got to make sure we wake up, or else we're not going to even make playoffs."

The Mustangs don't need to wake up. They're not dreaming — they did just dominate Estancia.

"This is just so exciting," Salas said with a big grin. "We've waited a long time for this."

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