Newport Harbor 1
Sailors’ magic run ends
Matt Szabo | Contact Reporter
IRVINE — Newport Harbor High girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Armstrong still remembers talking with Foothill coach Kate Hick after the Sailors played the Knights in a nonleague game.
The Knights won by 10 goals, but Hick told Armstrong that she saw the Sailors as a sleeper team in Orange County.
So, when No. 10-seeded Newport Harbor earned upset wins at No. 7 San Juan Hills and No. 2 St. Margaret’s in the first two rounds of the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division playoffs, Hick wasn’t necessarily surprised.
“Nobody expected us to do that except for [assistant coach] Kaleigh [Gibbons] and me,” Armstrong said. “And maybe Kate Hick.”
On Saturday, the Sailors and the Knights met again with more on the line in the South Division (Orange County) semifinals.
A team hungry to show it belonged among Orange County’s elite ran into a goalie hungry to help her team earn back to back Orange County titles.
USC-bound Foothill senior goalie Hannah Upshaw shined as the No. 3-seeded Knights beat the upstart Sailors, 5-1, at Irvine High to end Newport Harbor’s season.
Upshaw made a handful of tough saves, especially in the second half, for the Knights (13-8). She helped her team return to the South Division title game, where it will meet top-seeded Mater Dei on Wednesday at Trabuco Hills High. The Monarchs defeated the other Back Bay program, CdM, by a 12-7 score in the first semifinal on Saturday.
Armstrong, a former goalie himself, has a lot of respect for Upshaw.
“She’s probably the best goalie in Orange County, and she showed it today,” Armstrong said. “There were definitely three or four saves she made that I think most other goalies would have let in. A few times we made her look good. We knew where we wanted to shoot on her, and we weren’t quite getting it there, but kudos to her.”
Upshaw and a defense also anchored by junior Allison Parkhill and senior Emily Coffee held Newport Harbor (12-7), making its first playoff semifinal appearance, to a season-low one goal. Junior co-captain Katie Hendrix made it happen midway through the first half. On the defensive end she caused a turnover, and on the offensive end she ran in and scored to tie the game, 1-1, with 14:17 remaining in the half.
Foothill got a free position goal from Carly Escalette and a goal from freshman Ava Brand to regain the lead at 3-1. The Knights then spent much of the end of the half in the Newport end, the Sailors unable to clear the ball.
Senior goalie Hannah Sanders, who had a strong nine saves in the game, made a couple of big ones in the extended possession for the Knights. She picked up a ground ball with 10 seconds remaining. Under pressure, the clearing pass was stolen. The Foothill player broke open in front of the goal before a check by Newport senior defender Jordan Rausch just before the halftime buzzer earned a yellow card.
“I felt like a yellow was better than a goal, at that point,” Rausch said.
“Going into halftime 3-1 is totally different than going into halftime 4-1,” she said. “The difference between two and three goals is so mentally different, so that was the right play.”
But Foothill senior Meridian Lee scored with 19:56 remaining to make it 4-1, Knights. Upshaw sealed the deal after that, making big saves on Newport senior co-captain Rylie Siegfried on a free position shot, then Hendrix. Newport junior Heather Roberts had a free position from the left with seven minutes left, and Upshaw crouched to get the low shot.
“I always tell her she’s a scouting report,” Hick said. “If I’m a coach and I’m going to scout us, I start and stop at Hannah. She’s a game-changer.”
Sophomore Adena Rothbard had two draw controls for Newport Harbor, and Siegfried led the Sailors with three ground balls while Caitlin Dwyer and Jillian Rosten had two each.
The defense led by Rausch, Rosten, Maxine Aiello and Hayden Allen was impressive. Newport Harbor became the first Orange County team this season to hold Foothill to fewer than seven goals.
“I’ve been waiting for doubt to creep in all week, and it never has,” Armstrong said. “Even up until the last 10 minutes of this game, I really thought we would put together a run and give them a little bit better game at the end. We didn’t quite get there, but I never doubted this team. They never gave me cause to doubt.”
Armstrong was proud of what he called a “landmark” year for the Sailors. They won the outright Century SE League title — the first outright league title in program history — and advanced to the playoff semifinals for the first time.
“We peaked at the right time,” he said. “This week has been amazing for them, for me, for the whole team. There are really no words to describe it.”
Rausch had some to describe her four years in the program, which have seen a steady growth.
“Making it this far has been phenomenal,” she said. “No. 10 making it to the top four? Armstrong said we’ve been the talk of Orange County recently, and I agree. It’s just great that we made it this far. It definitely felt good my senior year to go out on this note.”
Newport Harbor 13 (2 OT)
St. Margaret’s 12
Newport Posts Second Upset on the Road to the 2016 Final Four
#10 Newport Harbor took another trip to south OC for their quarterfinal match-up against #2 St. Margaret’s, and the result was a battle for the ages. For the Sailors, sophomore attacker (and midfielder and defender) Adena Rothbard opened scoring with a quick scoop and shot on an unsettled play. She followed with a second goal on a quick dodge and drive minutes later. Even after St. Margaret’s answered with a signature transition strike, Rothbard had a sharp reply to earn a hat trick by the seven minute mark of the game. The Tartans scored another in transition and tied the game at three on a free position, forcing a Newport timeout. The home team continued to press, and they built a two-goal lead before junior captain Katie Hendrix drove hard, shot hard, and grazed the upper netting for her first. Rothbard drove to add the fourth of her six to the tally, and junior Heather Roberts made an opportunistic crease roll through heavy pressure and buried the bounce shot to give the Sailors a 6-5 halftime lead.
There was no scoring in the first five minutes of the second, but Rothbard opened by converting a free position that continued the back-and-forth affair. The home team fought back and scored two from free positions of their own for the 7-7 tie with sixteen minutes to go. As the half evolved, the game grew more and more physical and tension increased with each possession. St. Margaret’s scored their third straight off a crease roll that beat the late slide and enjoyed their first lead of the game. Hendrix drove four minutes later and ripped a shot from just inside the 8M arc to tie the game at eight with eleven minutes remaining. Sure enough, the Tartans answered with a crease isolation that put them up, 9-8. Two minutes later, Junior midfielder Sarah Farley sliced through three defenders on a free position to net the equalizer. Time between contractions shortened, as St. Margaret’s buried another free position just a minute later; Newport answered in the next minute by forcing a bizarre “own” goal: Junior attacker Caitlin Dwyer shot a free position that was saved, a defender tried to flip the rebound back to the goalie, and senior Rylie Siegfried checked the stick on the flip and the ball squibbed in over the line. Tie game, 10-10, with 7:00 in regulation.
The Sailors regained the lead with 5:16 remaining, as Siegfried drove, threaded a pass to a flashing Farley, who touch-passed the ball through the goalie. Predictably, St. Margaret’s uncorked another free position a minute later to tie the match at eleven. There was an uncharacteristic three-minute lull in scoring, as each team worked to find the perfect opportunity. The Tartans hit the post once, but it was the Sailors who would strike with just under 0:40 remaining. After a relentless ride that would not allow the home team out of their defensive zone, senior defender Maxine Aiello jumped a forced pass and caused a turnover; she scooped the ball, attacked the cage, was turned away by the Tartan defense, and brought the ball to X. Senior attacker Nicole Newman jumped behind to offer the outlet, brought the ball above the goal line extended, and fed a cutting Farley, who received at the waist, dodged one defender, and pocketed the shot on the near post for the late lead. But St. Margaret’s would not be denied, and they sent their best driver to work; two free positions later, the game was tied again. Siegfried earned the ensuing draw control on the Tartan foul, drove through four defenders and ripped a shot with two seconds to go, but was unable to ice the dramatic victory in regulation time.
The first overtime period produced a few shots and a few nice saves, but neither team could finish the game before switching ends. Off the opening draw of the second overtime period, Rothbard scooped the loose ball, brought it to X, then went to work from the opposite goal line extended. She executed an inside roll and slotted the ball in the opposite high corner. The celebration was on, and the Sailors rode home with the 13-12 OT victory and the program’s first ever berth in the Orange County Final Four.
Newport Harbor 9
San Juan Hills 7
Sailors post upset against San Juan Hills
Matt Szabo | Contact Reporter
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — A standout offensive play was provided when Newport Harbor girls’ lacrosse junior Sarah Farley reached to the heavens to snag sophomore Adena Rothbard’s pass, before beating a double-team and scoring the go-ahead goal.
“As far as a highlight reel, that one would be SportsCenter top 10, all day,” Newport Harbor Coach Matt Armstrong said.
A standout defensive play was provided four minutes later, when senior goalie Hannah Sanders reached up to stop a rocket shot off a free position from San Juan Hills leading scorer Journey Fischbeck and preserve that lead.
“The play of the game goes to Hannah for blocking Journey’s really good shot down there,” Newport Harbor senior defender and co-captain Jordan Rausch said with a big smile after the game. “It was so good.”
As for Newport Harbor senior midfielder and co-captain Rylie Siegfried, she provided the steady play and scoring touch that her team needed.
Siegfried scored a game-high five goals to help the Sailors notch the first playoff victory for anyone on the roster. No. 10-seeded Newport Harbor upset No. 7 San Juan Hills, 9-7, in the first round of the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division playoffs on Tuesday night at San Juan Hills High.
Newport Harbor earned its first win playoff in six years and will play at No. 2-seeded St. Margaret’s, a 19-3 winner over Woodbridge, in the South Division quarterfinals on Thursday.
“What I said to them after the game was that I’ve been waiting for this victory for like three years,” Armstrong said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Siegfried helped make sure that the Sailors would make a return trip to San Juan Capistrano on Thursday. But in the end, it was her assist to the third team captain, junior Katie Hendrix, that helped ice the game with 1:41 remaining.
Hendrix had a pair of goals and Rothbard had a goal and two assists for the Sailors (11-6). Sanders made 10 big saves, five in each half. Two of them came off free position shots in the final seven minutes, as the Stallions (14-5) had an extended offensive possession down by just a goal.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, but I knew I had to step up,” Sanders said.
The individual defense by Sanders and Rausch, as well as good team defense, were key in limiting San Juan Hills. The Sailors held Fischbeck, who scored 90 goals in the regular season, scoreless.
“As Armstrong says, ‘Defense wins championships,'” Rausch said. “That definitely proved itself in this game. We had a play, because we know she does the little crease roll. We were planning for it the whole game and in practice [Monday], we practiced it a lot … It was very stressful on the defense side a lot of the time, but we played our game the best we could.”
Siegfried led Newport Harbor with three draws won and four ground balls, while Farley, Hendrix and Rothbard all had three ground balls. Lysie Kenney, Maxine Aiello, Heather Roberts and Jillian Rosten had one each. Caitlin Dwyer had an assist.
The Sailors took a 5-3 halftime lead and never trailed, but they also had to withstand a San Juan Hills rally in the second half.
A 6-3 Newport lead vanished after San Juan Hills got goals from Bridget Cain, Mandy Muhr and Elena Guillen. But then Rothbard found Siegfried cutting in front to give the Sailors back the lead, 7-6, with 12:20 to play.
“It was really consistent throughout the whole season, our second half was better than our first,” Siegfried said. “We didn’t give up. When they scored, we didn’t get down on ourselves … I guess I just told myself I had to step it up one more level.”
Cain’s third goal of the night tied the score again with 11:04 to play, before Farley scored with 9:15 left to give the visitors an 8-7 lead that would hold up.
Hendrix provided the insurance goal, shooting low to score in the final two minutes.
Newport Harbor will be the underdog against St. Margaret’s. But Armstrong believes his team will be ready. Tuesday’s victory was also the first playoff win for Armstrong, who is in his fifth year in charge of the Sailors.
“I’ve been saying all along that Nos. 2 through 12 could all beat each other,” he said. “I don’t like to play the common opponent game too much, but if you like to play that game, San Juan Hills lost to St. Margaret’s by one and we beat San Juan Hills by two … You know, we’re going to have our work cut out for us, but I have a lot of faith that our girls will step up and do what they need to do. I think tonight they proved to themselves that they can win the big game.”
The Sailors have indeed had close losses to teams like Beckman, Corona del Mar and Los Alamitos this season. But on Tuesday, they proved they could come up with a clutch victory to keep their season alive.
“It feels really good,” Rausch said. “We had three goals at the beginning of the season: to make it to the second round of playoffs, to beat CdM and to win [the outright] league [title]. We didn’t end up beating CdM, but it feels really good to get two out of three, considering we got zero out of three last year.”
$250 – Helen Guiltunan #1986
$500 – Vargas #2475
$1000 – Gail Standt #0426
Thank you to everyone that participated in the Newport Harbor Girls Lacrosse Fundraiser 2016. We raised over $13,000 for our program! Your support makes it possible for our program to exist and grow.
Please contact Shannon McCormack @ (949)878-8460 to claim your prize!
CONGRATULATIONS to the following Student Athletes who were named to the Sunset League All-Academic Team. 12 Newport Harbor Girls Lacrosse Varsity players made the cut!
Students must be a Varsity Spring Sport Athlete to qualify for this prestigious award and post at least a 3.80 weighted GPA for the third quarter.
Allen, Hayden 3.83
Farley, Sarah 3.83
Hendrix, Katie 3.94
Kenney, Lysie 3.83
Lukosky, Emily 3.83
Riggan, Sophia 4.00
Roberts, Heather 4.08
Rothbard, Adena 4.00
Siegfried, Rylie 4.60
Tran, Laura 4.63
Warmington, Rylee 3.92
Woodruff, Jessica 4.31
WAY TO GO SAILORS!