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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.