Coyotes 'get ugly' to capture championship (Corrected)

COSTA MESA — Before the Newport Coast Elementary girls' third- and fourth grade silver division team took to the field for its biggest game in the 14th Daily Pilot Cup Sunday the players remembered to huddle, jump and shout their traditional pregame chant.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall. Pretty girls don't play ball," they said in unison, and ended with: "So let's get ugly!"

Their ritual appeared to work as Newport Coast captured the championship with a 3-1 victory over a scrappy Harbor Day squad that completed an impressive, dominating run through the youth soccer tournament.

There was hardly anything ugly about its 5-0 record. Newport Coast outscored opponents 23-1.

"Our team played like the score was 0-0 all the way through," Newport Coast Coach Ken Recker said. "They had great energy. They were usually first to the ball."

Playing with just 10 players throughout the majority of the tournament made Newport Coast's run even more impressive. At times, the Newport Coast Coyotes played with just nine and never substituted and in a few games they were one down going eight against nine.

Recker's daughter, Emily, left at halftime because she had to attend a dance event in Redondo Beach along with two other Newport Coast teammates, Recker said.

The Coyotes still controlled the game.

Anika Ewert got Newport Coast on the scoreboard early with her goal three minutes into the match. Maddie Rosen produced the assist.

In the 10th minute, the Coyotes went up 2-0 after Ryann McTague scored.

Harbor Day goalie Elyse Johnson kept the Seahawks in the game with some sensational saves. She finished with 12 saves. Sweeper Rylen Schmid also led the Harbor Day defense.

Isabel Gomez scored for Harbor Day with four minutes left in the first half.

But Ewert and Ashley Zieper teamed up to put Newport Coast up, 3-1, late in the second half. Ewert had the assist and Zieper put the ball into the back of the net.

Harbor Day Coach Mike Gomez appeared content with the Seahawks' runner-up finish considering their run to the championship game.

There was a sense of pride from all the Harbor Day supporters at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

Most know Harbor Day as the Corona del Mar private school that Kobe Bryant's daughters attend. But Harbor Day was more than just that at the Pilot Cup.

Harbor Day had three teams playing for titles on Championship Sunday. Each of the Seahawk teams finished second in the boys' 3-4 silver and boys' 3-4 gold divisions.

The girls' 3-4 silver team's performance at the Pilot Cup had the Harbor Day parents and Coach Gomez excited.

The Seahawks opened the tournament with a 1-1 tie against St. John the Baptist. That meant they needed a 5-0 win over Newport Heights to remain in title contention.

They earned that 5-0 win, but they were forced to a penalty-kick shootout to determine their seeding in the quarterfinals.

They won the PK shootout, as Gomez, Schmid and Hannah Dastgheib scored. Johnson came up with big saves to secure the better seed.

Coach Gomez said Harbor Day tied Rea, 1-1, in the quarterfinals and needed to win another shootout to advance. They won that PK shootout, 4-2, he said.

The Seahawks then edged Whittier, 2-1, in the semifinals. Whittier entered the semifinal having outscored opponents, 14-1.

"Everyone just had fun," Gomez said. "I think everyone came out of it with a great Pilot Cup experience and that's all you can ask for."

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