COSTA MESA — Sonora Elementary proved at the Daily Pilot Cup that it's about quality, not quantity.
The fifth- and sixth-grade Newport Elementary girls had 10 shot attempts and four untouched crosses in the goal area.
Sonora had only four attempts, but two of them went in — including one in the last few possessions.
Minutes later, the 12-girl squad that sometimes started only nine players celebrated a 2-1 win at the Costa Mesa Farm Complex and became the silver division champion.
"Before every game, we ask them, 'What do you guys want to do today,'" Sonora Coach Cindy Mejia said. "They kept on saying, 'Win,' so we told them, 'Play like that. Play like you guys want to win.'"
In a three-minute stretch early in the first half, Newport Elementary had three close opportunities to score.
Sienna Ward dribbled across two defenders and centered a near-perfect ball that missed Taryn Anderson coming across by inches.
Anderson, again, almost converted on a pass from Marissa Cislaw, and another cross by Claire Johnson led to a deflection from Sonora's goalkeeper.
Second half was same song, different tune.
In another stretch, two corner kicks, one by Johnson's left foot and Cislaw's right, slid across the goal area with no luck.
Cislaw's kick connected with Ward's foot, but the ball bounced off the right crossbar for another corner kick that Johnson hit out of bounds.
"I think we had the possession, but we didn't get lucky," Newport Elementary Coach Candice Ward said. "They scored on their set plays, and we didn't score on ours."
Both of Sonora's goals came off corner kicks, but the first one tricked Newport Elementary.
Mejia said Sonora practiced a fake corner kick in practice where the kicker taps it to a wing player and taps it back.
Yartiza Garcia then hit a perfect banana kick that bended just inside the right-corner post for the game's first goal right before the referee blew the whistle.
"We never really thought it'd really work," Mejia said. "It's was more supposed to be center, but at the end it saved us."
For the second, and winning, goal, Garcia connected with Alejandra Guzman who kicked it into the left side with two minutes left.
Scarlett Zambrano, another Sonora coach, said Garcia also helped tremendously on defense.
"She really died out there for us today and gave her whole heart," Zambrano said.
Newport Elementary limited Sonora's counterattacks with solid play from defender Sarah Sheldon, who nearly scored on a quarter-field-long shot that went just over the top crossbar.