Mariners has fun in win

COSTA MESA — The old saying goes, boys will be boys, and that was the thought shortly after a championship game Sunday at the 14th Daily Pilot Cup.

The players on the Mariners Elementary third- and fourth-grade gold division team assumed their boyhood ways after beating Harbor Day, 4-1, at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex, also known as the Farm.

The Marlins had some fun on the Farm. The boys rode on top of a wagon that had an ice chest. Some pushed the wagon while others piled on.

It didn't seem so much as an act of celebration. It was more of boys just being silly, fooling around for some laughs.

They also had fun during their game on their way to securing the cup, a trophy they will have on display at their school until next year's Pilot Cup. It won't be the only trophy at the school from the youth soccer tournament.

Mariners also won the championship in the girls' 3-4 bronze and girls' 3-4 gold divisions. Mariners' girls' 5-6 bronze division team reached the final.

Several of the players on the Mariners boys' 3-4 gold team entered the championship game with great confidence. Before the game, they somewhat joked with their Coach Preston Kenney that they could win, 5-0.

Dynamic players like Jake Levine and Bryce Lehner helped the Marlins believe they would win the championship.

When Levine scored his second goal to give Mariners a 3-0 lead midway through the second half, the common feeling was the Marlins would be champs.

Levin scored first for Mariners, just outside the 18-yard box, 10 minutes into the game. Three minutes later Sean Bobinski scored his first goal of the tournament. It was a beautiful strike from about 20 yards out, a high, bending shot that sailed over the goalie and into the net.

Harbor Day nearly scored before halftime, as Michael Vaughan sent a nice corner kick toward the goal. But the Mariners defense turned the Seahawks away.

However, Carson Webb prevented the shutout when he scored about a minute after Levine's second goal.

But, Mariners went ahead, 4-1, with five minutes left in the game.

Lehner's accurate cross made it easy for Will O'Neil to chest in the ball for the goal.

"Their effort was phenomenal," said Coach Kenney, whose son, Cannon, played as a center midfielder. "I really didn't have to do much of anything because they were such a great team. All the credit goes to them. They just kept getting better. They made my job easy."

The Marlins were strong in the final two days of the tournament, outscoring opponents, 13-3, in three games. They ended up with a 20-7 advantage in their five victories.

Harbor Day also had a nice run to the championship game. The Seahawks had outscored opponents, 14-2, entering the final.

They had two shutouts in pool play (5-0 over Sonora, and 3-0 over Wilson), and beat Andersen, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, and took out Pegasus, 4-1, in the semifinals earlier on Sunday.

They also fooled around after the game, acting as if it was just another day to play with friends.

"This is just the greatest tournament," Harbor Day Coach Charles Ruck said. "It's not really about winning or losing. It's about getting to play together. With each game you learn something, win or lose."

The Mariners championship team included: Paolo Belfiore, Sean Bobinski, Santo Gezein, Mathew Karges, Cannon Kenney, Bryce Lehner, Eli Leithem, Jake Levine, Tyler Li, Edward Olsen, Will O'Neil and Ryan Riddlesperger.

The Harbor Day second-place team included: Prescott Cook, Matthew Poska, Mason Ressler, Carson Webb, Alex Wainwright, Griffin Lewis, Michael Vaughan, Ryder Haupt, Dominic Cuneo, Andrew King, Ryder Dunn, Preston Ewing, Nick Richardson, Anson Chen, Max Sonenshine, Gordon Withrow, Aidan Anvaripour and Henry Ruck.

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