Harbor Day remains undefeated

COSTA MESA — The Harbor Day girls enjoyed a team barbecue Friday, scrimmaging against the boys and relaxing with friends and family.

Harbor Day continued the party on the pitch Saturday morning as the fifth- and sixth-grade silver division girls kept its undefeated record — and a bid for back-to-back championships — intact with a 3-0 win against Pomona at the Pilot Cup.

"Our defense has been very strong," coach Dave DiGiovanni said. "They haven't allowed a goal yet."

Pomona nearly scored a goal in the opening seconds after a well-placed cross by Elizabeth Esquivel, but Harbor Day's goalkeeper Sammy Pickell made a key save.

Harbor Day's Kaylin Flaxman, however, didn't let a well-placed corner kick go to waste as she scored the team's first goal that snuck below the middle crossbar.

Assistant coach Leslie Montgomery said she felt happy for Flaxman because she worked hard to start after being on the B-team last year.

"She is aggressive," Montgomery said, "and it's fun to watch her."

Harbor Day's second goal featured the team's speed, as Brooke Kenerson dribbled from the halfway line to Pomona's penalty area with ease.

Though Pomona's goalkeeper deflected Kenerson's shot, Graysen Airth got the rebound and put it back to increase Harbor Day's lead to two.

Harbor Day, which scored all its goals in the first half, added a penalty kick from Sabrina DiGiovanni minutes before the half.

However, the score didn't reflect how close the game was.

Pomona featured its power game, routinely hitting balls across the halfway line with ease.

But Pickell capped off her third straight shutout by stopping all six of Pomona's attempts, keeping Harbor Day's goal differential at the Pilot Cup plus 10.

"I just told them to keep trying; keep pushing up," Pomona's coach Juan Hernandez said to his girls. "We actually have good skill … so I told them to keep the pressure up."

Hernandez said Lindsay Avlos, who could have played any position, did a great job as a defender.

"Lindsey is real good," he said. "She's probably one of my best players."

He added Esquivel took most of the shots and played aggressively and Evelyn Hernandez played well, too.

Though Pomona had strong family support for the girls, Hernandez said some parents might have confused the girls more than anything because it conflicted with his coaching.

"It's kind of hard sometimes when the parents keep telling them one thing and I'm telling them another," Hernandez said.

Harbor Day, on the other hand, had more of a kickback party atmosphere, families laying on lawn chairs and blankets, cheering on for the 15 girls at Davis Elementary School's field No. 1.

Dave DiGiovanni said Harbor Day has 18 girls participating, 20 last year. Since practically the entire class gets to participate in it, he said the parents try to keep it low key as possible and make sure the girls have lots of fun.

"We try to keep it in what the Pilot Cup is all about-it's about having fun and doing their best," he said.

Pomona, too, made sure the girls enjoyed their time as the team posed for multiple photos for an extended period of time after the game.

"We did pretty good in the second half - didn't score - but we had our chances," Hernandez said. "But, hey, that's soccer."

But as the defending champs of last year's Pilot Cup, one could argue Harbor Day haven't stopped partying since 2010.

And won't stop for a while longer.

"Most girls haven't played soccer since last year's Pilot Cup," Dave DiGiovanni said. "They really rose to the occasion."

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