COSTA MESA — In a blink, Rose Luna dribbled past defenders, poised to score a game-tying goal for Wilson Elementary Friday at the Daily Pilot Cup.
A second later, Luna got hit with an inadvertently kicked ball to her stomach and was carried off the field. But a minute later, Luna came back on the field after walking it off and once again in a position to score against Newport Elementary.
But this time, Luna and Wilson's girls' fifth- and sixth-grade bronze division team came out with a goal, signifying a key moment on its way to a 2-1 victory at Costa Mesa High.
"She came back, and she did exactly what she almost did before," Wilson's coach Carolina Harmon said.
The winning goal came minutes later from Wilson's Ashely Murillo, who assisted in Luna's goal.
Newport Elementary had a chance for an equalizer late after a perfectly placed corner kick by Jessica Bradwell, but Wilson's defense cleared it out mere seconds before the referee blew the final whistle.
Newport Elementary's Lyndsy Kaufman scored the team's only goal in the first half.
"I've been telling them to crash the goal all the time, and they almost had it," said Newport Elementary's coach Scott Terpstra of the corner kick. "It was perfect."
Newport Elementary had momentum on its side after Kaufman's goal in the first half. Hannah Jenkins scored nearly twice, but Wilson's goalkeeper Fatima Gutierrez made key saves to keep the lead at one.
Harmon, also a first-grade teacher, said she told her team at halftime to just keep going and the goals would come.
"They knew what they were doing, and they just needed to go for it," she said.
Harmon also credited the second-half surge to the Wilson faithful who cheered for the game-winning goal or a midfield defensive stop just the same.
"The parents have been here supporting every single one of their games," she said. "As you could hear, they were loud."
Harmon said she participated in the Pilot Cup last year, but being the coach this year made the experience that much better.
Terpstra echoed Harmon's view and added his players seemed to have a great time, too.
"They get to finally play with kids from their class," he said. "Usually it's like you're playing on a club team, playing kids of different ages in different schools, and now they get to play with kids that they see everyday."