COSTA MESA — Yaritza Garcia's booming kicks are always useful for the Sonora Elementary girls' fifth- and sixth-grade silver division team at the Daily Pilot Cup.
Garcia plays on defense, and those kicks can get the Eagles out of danger. But on set pieces, her right foot itself turns dangerous.
Garcia had a hat trick Thursday evening as Sonora blanked Wilson, 4-0, in its tournament-opening game at Davis Elementary.
The Eagles have big plans after winning the fifth- and sixth-grade girls' bronze division title last year.
Many of the same Sonora girls return as sixth-graders this year, and they got their tournament off to a good start.
"This year we get to play against harder teams," said Sonora stopper and goalie Cytlalli Tapia. "Every year gets more difficult. We just want to win this championship, and we all know we can do it."
Sonora scored three times in the first 14 minutes, two of them on own-goals from Wilson (0-1-1). In the fifth minute, Garcia found the back of the net from the left side off a free kick.
Two minutes later, Alejandra Guzman's cross from the right went off a Wilson defender and into the net. It worked again in the 14th minute, when Garcia's corner kick bounced off the back heel of a Wilson defender and again found the nylon.
"We were excited, since it was our first game for Pilot Cup," said Garcia, who plays club for Slammers FC. "We thought we weren't going to score this many goals in this game."
Sonora is coached by Costa Mesa High senior Scarlett Zambrano and junior Cindy Mejia.
Zambrano, a second-team All-Orange Coast League selection at defender, had to be happy with the team's defense as it shut Wilson out.
"It was surprising," said Zambrano, who herself went to Sonora and is in her second year coaching at the tournament. "We just were shocked that we were able to score at such an early time. But we were happy about the results."
The Eagles controlled the action for much of the rest of the game, putting pressure on Wilson goalie Sharon Ozuna and defenders Blanca Pacheco, Sonia and Jessica Nieto and Andrea Gasca.
Sonora scored its fourth goal in the 49th minute, when Garcia's free kick from about 30 yards out bounced twice and found the left corner of the net.
Many of the parents on the Sonora sideline yelled encouragement at Scarlett Zambrano's younger sister Veronica, a forward.
She almost scored in the final minutes as well, but her shot clanged off the right post.
Tapia shared goalie duties for Sonora with Karla Paniagua, and they combined to make five saves. Midfielder Emily Olvera was also a key to Sonora's ball-control offense.
Diana Huipe, Gabby Jaimes, Carolina Guzman, Sharon Aguilar, Juana Hernandez and Christyna Tangavelou also contributed to the Sonora victory.
Scarlett Zambrano told her players after the game that everyone had to show up for today's 4:30 p.m. pool-play game against Mariners, at Farm field No. 2. This is especially true since Sonora has just 12 players.
"Next time we want to play even harder," Zambrano said. "We've heard that [Mariners] is a good, tough team."