COSTA MESA — The College Park Cougars did not like the taste of defeat in their mouths after losing their first-round game, and a 9-1 win over Victoria Thursday afternoon had a sweet flavor to it at the Costa Mesa Farm Complex.
The game started slowly for each team, but as the afternoon sun warmed, so did the Cougars in the boys' third- and fourth-grade gold division game of the Daily Pilot Cup.
There is a one-point penalty for a winning margin of five goals or more, according to the Pilot Cup rules, but College Park was happy nevertheless.
Charlie Fabila scored first for College Park, it would be one of two goals for Fabila, but Victoria's center forward Dane Chalmers quickly answered to tie the game at one goal apiece. On the Cougars' next possession, Rafa Domingez poked the ball past Victoria's keeper for a 2-1 Cougar lead.
When asked what his team's secret to a high scoring game was, Domingez answered just as quickly with his theory as he did with his foot.
"Passing. When we pass the ball, we can score a lot," he said.
And Dominguez certainly did that, leading the way with a hat trick.
Passing was the key for College Park to score nine goals, but Coach Herman Bottazzi was proud of his team's will.
"We have a lot of skillful players, but we have to play as a team," he said. "We didn't have much time to prepare, so the key was perseverance."
After Domingez put the Cougars on top, 2-1, it was Fabila once again putting the ball in the net off a pass from John Paul Bottazzi.
Not content with only assisting on goals for his team's win, Bottazzi then logged a goal of his own off a corner kick, launching his legs into the air to connect with the ball, his goal was perhaps the most acrobatic.
Salvador Hernandez benefited from a pass from Dominguez, who saw his teammate streaking across the field and laid the ball in the center for Hernandez to poke in.
Diego Garcia scored the sixth goal for the Cougars, and in the second half while playing keeper, made two dramatic saves that preserved the Cougars' victory.
The seventh goal and final one of the first half came from Omar Mendoza when Dominguez launched a free kick from 40 yards out and Mendoza capitalized on a scrum of players surrounding the ball.
Mendoza calmly punched the ball out of the pack and found the back of the net.
With the second half still to play, Victoria came out attacking but was unable to narrow the gap largely thanks to Garcia's impressive play in goal.
It was Domingez who scored the game's final two goals, one a strong shot to the top, just below the cross bar, than even the most skilled goalkeeper would have found impossible to stop.
While the score got out of hand for Victoria, the team still played hard, Chalmers led the way, and despite a 9-1 defeat, coach Tracy Scofield said she was happy with her team's performance and hopes the loss does not leave a bad taste in her players' mouths.
"I'm just really proud of them," Scofield said. "They played really hard, and a lot of them have never played before. I just hope they keep playing for next year."
As for College Park, they have big plans for the Pilot Cup and beyond.
"We're going to Hollywood!" Aldrish Jimenez exclaimed.
"And we're going to throw water on coach," player Bottazzi admitted. Coach Bottazzi was quick to remind his players they first had to win the tournament before his fate would be sealed.
"Not today boys, that only happens if we win the tournament."