Pilot Cup: Adams finds its groove

COSTA MESA — Raising their clasped hands to the sky, the Adams Elementary School fifth- and sixth-grade boys' soccer team did a brief celebratory dance in front of their coaches, parents and friends.

The defending champions from Costa Mesa were able to do the dance, which was similar to the one done by Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Steve Martin in the 1988 comedy movie, "Three Amigos," twice. It was all part of a 5-0 shutout of Eastbluff Elementary of Newport Beach, in the silver division of the Daily Pilot Cup Thursday.

"We got it from one of our teammates, Edric Ruiz, who broke his collarbone," said Sergio Lugo, who scored the game's first goal in the 17th minute and leaped into an older teenage friend's arms. "We just came up with it."

Lugo is one of two returning players from last year's championship team. Angel Ortiz is the other.

Adams clinched first place by winning its two pool-play games this week in the 'A' pool. It clinched a quarterfinal bid as part of an eight-team draw and will play the first-place team from the 'H' pool – either Whittier, Newport Heights or Pomona - at 9 a.m. on Saturday. If Adams wins its quarterfinal game, it would advance to play at noon on Sunday in the semifinals, with the finals at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

"As the defending champion, I think we have the best chance to win," said 18-year-old Adams head coach Carlos Barrios, a three-year varsity player and senior at Estancia. "But anything can happen in soccer. I've seen some good teams play who're in our division. The boys stepped up, we came together as a family."

Adams put together several one- or two-touch passing drives on its way to goals. In the 38th minute, Ivan Figueroa scored deep in the penalty box, on a two-pass combination, spreading his arms in celebration afterward. Figueroa tacked on his second goal of the game one minute later, on a lofting pass skied over the goalie, who leaped high in an attempt to stop the ball.

"When they sent the ball to me, I didn't think it was going to go in," Figueroa said. "It hit my chest and I thought it was going to hit the post, but it went in."

Nick Ramirez and Ryan Romero each scored one goal within the game's final four minutes to complete the scoring.

A touch of controversy happened in the 31st minute. A handball on an Adams defender on a kick by Eastbluff forward Tanner Smith led to a penalty kick taken by David Stevenson. While goalie Angel Rodriguez made a sprawling save to his right, the ball appeared to be very close to being over the goal line. But the head official was right on it, saying that while part of the ball was over the line, the entire ball was not past the line, and he ruled it no goal.

"It felt pretty bad," Stevenson said. "I kind of wanted to scream, I was frustrated."

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