Teamwork leads Andersen to final

COSTA MESA — It was quite an athletic Saturday for members of the Andersen Elementary girls' third- and fourth-grade bronze division team.

Many of the Andersen players competed for the Harbor View Swim Team in its season-opening swim meet in the morning, before hustling over to the Farm Sports Complex for their Daily Pilot Cup game in the early afternoon.

Harbor View and Andersen are both the Dolphins. Everything's going quite swimmingly for this talented group of third-grade girls.

Andersen defeated Pomona, 4-1, in a bronze division semifinal to advance to Sunday's championship match. Andersen will play Eastbluff for the championship at 1:30 p.m., at Farm field No. 5.

Through three games, Andersen has outscored its opponents, 11-1. Seven of the goals have come from Kira Hoffman, who has played club soccer for the SoCal Blues and Breakaway.

Hoffman scored three goals and assisted teammate Brooke Healy's strike Saturday. She typically controls the middle for Andersen. On the rare occasions where the ball gets deep into the Andersen side, center defender Ashley Righeimer is quick to provide a big kick to get it out of danger.

"I think it's because everybody helps each other," said Righeimer of the reason for the team's success.

Healy agreed.

"It's working hard, and teamwork," she said.

Healy scored first in the semifinal match, after a throw-in from Hoffman. It was the first goal that Pomona had allowed in the tournament. But Pomona returned the favor midway through the half, when Rosario Castro got an open look and scored.

Andersen Coach Kathryn Hoffman did not see her team panic. Pomona goalie Kimberly Martinez had a nice game and made six saves, but Kira Hoffman scored again just before halftime, then twice more in the second half.

"¡Cuidado!" a Pomona parent yelled in the second half, telling the players in Spanish to be careful around Hoffman. She dribbled through many of them, only falling down after taking a corner kick that bounced off a Pomona player and over the end line for another corner kick.

"Don't fall again," the referee told Hoffman, who smiled.

Defenders Megan Beiswenger, Kristin Fredrick and Healy also helped out the Dolphins, who were missing four players due to various other commitments. Samantha Siegel played goalie in the first half, as did Erin Esnard in the second half.

"They didn't get demoralized by the [Pomona] goal," Kathryn Hoffman said. "We've just got a lot of depth. We used our whole bench, and I don't think we lost any momentum."

Sophie Donaldson, Nikola Schmitt, Lily Black, Genevieve Hilbert, Madison Pheif, Ava Dillon and Elle Dillon also contributed for Andersen.

The girls are all enjoying their first Pilot Cup experience. A win Sunday in the championship match would make it even sweeter.

Ava Dillon knows what Andersen needs to keep being successful.

"Teamwork!" she yelled out in a loud voice, knowing the Dolphins have plenty of that.

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