Pilot Cup: College Park making moves

COSTA MESA — It was hard to find a weakness watching the College Park Elementary boys' third- and fourth-grade silver division team Saturday at the Daily Pilot Cup.

College Park's opponent, Paularino, probably felt the same way.

Eight different players scored for the Cougars, who earned a 9-1 triumph in the quarterfinal match at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. And that balance was exactly what College Park Coach Hernan Bottazzi liked to see.

"We're not a one-star team," Bottazzi said. "If we win, we win as a group. If we lose, we lose as a group. That's the main reason we're playing well right now, because we're bonding very well."

John Paul Bottazzi scored twice for College Park. Charle Fabila, Joel Ramos, Martin Patino, Bengie Mendez, Ramiro Mendoza, Gael Mojica and Angel Fuentes all added single goals for College Park, which led, 4-0, at halftime.

Things seem to be professionally done at College Park, which had real numbers and first names on the back of its light green-colored jerseys.

"We're passing and we're showing off our skills," said Ramos, who scored the game's second goal off a corner kick.

College Park certainly kept things busy for Paularino's goalies. Ryan Juncker made two saves in the first half for the Panthers, and Jonathan Trujillo made five saves in the second half.

College Park keeper Ernesto Reynoso made six saves, including a spectacular one midway through the second half, when he leaped up to deflect Danny Molina's shot just over the crossbar.

"Ernie, I love you," the elder Bottazzi shouted from the sideline.

Paularino had an ensuing corner kick, but College Park then got a sweet header on the goal line by Fabila to clear the ball out of danger.

The Cougars continued building their lead, until Molina scored the game's final goal for Paularino in the closing minutes.

Hernan Bottazzi said several of the players on this year's squad played on a third- and fourth-grade gold division team last year.

"We didn't do well last year, but we've stuck together," Bottazzi said. "We had only two weeks of training this year, but we were working since last year, too. We've developed our game a lot. The closeness of the group, I think, is a key. They're very good listeners."

Bottazzi said he wanted to dedicate Saturday's victory to College Park school Principal Julie McCormick, "for putting the group together and letting us play and train in school."

McCormick will be even happier if College Park can win two more games Sunday. The silver division team plays Pegasus in a semifinal match at noon Sunday, with the championship match at 3 p.m. Mariners and Mariners Christian are in the other semifinal.


Twitter: @mjszabo

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