Game Recap

As seen in the Daily Pilot:

Newport Harbor field hockey keeps league title hopes alive with win over Edison

The home crowd grew restless as the Newport Harbor High field hockey team went into halftime locked in a scoreless tie with Edison on Tuesday night.

It was not the effort of the Sailors that they took issue with, but rather a call that had just been made.

Goals can be hard to come by in field hockey, and Newport Harbor had just had one taken away. Grace O’Neill appeared to have opened the scoring on the Sailors’ senior night, but the officials ruled that the ball did not clear the semicircle before O’Neill unleashed a slap shot on a short corner.

The Sailors went back to work in the second half, and in no time, the Sailors got the go-ahead goal.

Chanse Hill and O’Neill scored goals, and Newport Harbor came away with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Chargers in a Sunset League South game.

Newport Harbor finally broke through in the 33rd minute. Natalie Williams won a one-on-one battle as the Chargers tried to head up field. The ball rolled ahead to Hill, who evaded Edison goalie Mary Smith and swept a shot into the net on her backhand.

“It was really special because we got a goal taken away,” Hill said. “We had a goal that was past the line, and the ref didn’t call that. To finally get our team in motion into the game, it felt really good and got us more pumped up.”

The Sailors dominated possession and the scoring chances, earning 11 short corners while conceding just one.

After having a goal taken off the scoreboard at the halftime buzzer, O’Neill got some good karma when she converted her final opportunity with eight seconds remaining. She received the pass from Sara Robinson, the Sailors’ injector, and her hard shot rolled in.

“You can’t really control what the refs are going to do,” O’Neill said. “Those things are just out of our control, so I think the important thing was that we got right back into it, even though it was really disappointing, until we were able to get one that actually counted.”

More importantly, Newport Harbor won, moving its record to 19-4-1 overall and 10-1 in the league. The Sailors came into the night tied with Huntington Beach for first in the league with two games to go, and they are seeking their first league title since 2010.

“That’s one of the struggles that we’ve had is that during league, we’ve worked out all our kinks, and then we really, traditionally, have then shown up in Tournament of Champions,” Sailors coach Amanda Boyer said. “It would be so nice to get…a higher seeding and have a little bit more of an advantage going into playoffs.”

Smith made 10 saves to keep the Chargers (8-3 in league) in the game. Arleigh Ramsey and Madeline Solorzano also collapsed well on defense to help Smith defend a myriad of short-corner opportunities for the Sailors.

“I just felt like we were getting a little too panicky and frenzied with their attack if the calls didn’t go our way,” Chargers coach Rebecca Antongiorgi said.

Antongiorgi also praised Solorzano, a center back, saying, “There were a few times where she just came out of nowhere and just saved us.”

Top 15: Singer & Hendrix

On Thursday evening, Newport Harbor Field Hockey seniors Jackie Singer and Katie Hendrix were among the top student athletes from Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar, and Sage, honored for their athletic and academic achievements, as well as community involvement, at the 56th Annual Athletic Awards Dinner. Special guest speaker, three-time Olympic swimmer Aaron Piersol, spoke about the importance of loving what you do and staying composed in all circumstances. Click here to see the article in the Daily Pilot.

Thank you to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce for hosting such a special event to recognize the student-athletes.

Congratulations to Jackie and Katie for this exciting honor!

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Athlete of the Week

As seen in the Daily Pilot:

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week:
Porteous propelled Sailors to title

Story – Barry Faulkner

Mckenzie Porteous will forever be known for scoring the game-winning goal in the biggest game of her Newport Harbor High field hockey career.

But driving a one-timer past a scrambling Edison goalie just 81 seconds into overtime of the Tournament of Champions final on Saturday at Westminster High, was only the first of two defining elements that those who know her best might summarize as merely doing what she does.

Scoring is, no doubt, Porteous’ most noticeable skill, as the senior led her team in goals. But just as she did by lifting the Tars to their first T of C crown in five seasons, Porteous also brought her teammates together.

Together the Sailors sprinted toward their diminutive heroine as she spontaneously leaped to her feet in post-goal celebration. Together, the Sailors glommed onto their 5-foot-1 go-to girl, screaming and crying and hugging and holding onto the very bond that Porteous worked so hard to nurture.

Together, the pack of champions frolicked and bounded around their nucleus, eventually falling to the ground in a euphoric pile of personified promise.

Together they will always remain, galvanized in glory and unified by the journey that included a season without an on-campus home game, while their field was being renovated. For that, Porteous is most proud.

“It was crazy,” Porteous said of the culmination of a two-year varsity career that included a T of C semifinal loss to Edison last season. “I didn’t see the ball go in. I heard the noise [of the ball smacking the wooden back of the cage] and I started jumping in the air. Then, it was just a huge mosh pit. I fell to the ground and I couldn’t breathe. Everyone was overcome by emotion, knowing we finally did it. It was an amazing experience that everyone had given 100% to achieve. It was really cool.

“I would consider it one of the highlights of my high school career, and I’m sure it’s the same for a bunch of my teammates,” said Porteous, who fell in love with field hockey largely because of the friendships it forged, then gave up pole vaulting after her first two years at Harbor, because it only allowed her to compete as an individual. “The girls on my team have been talking about getting that win since it happened. Every time I think about it, I start tearing up. We just worked so hard and we deserved it.”

Even as she candidly shared her recollection of her singular contribution, Porteous, again doing what she does, continually steered the conversation toward the collective.

“I don’t think me scoring that goal is the reason why we won,” she said. “Every person on that team could have scored that goal. I wanted the win more than anything in the world, and I would not have cared if anyone else scored the goal.”

Newport Harbor Coach Amanda Boyer was hardly surprised it was Porteous who struck the winning blow.

“I think this season [Porteous] stepped up as a leader on the field,” Boyer said. “She was a dominant forward and that was evident by the end of the season, when she became a target for double- and triple-marking [by opposing defenders]. Her intensity was contagious and she was an example to her teammates about how to be hungry to score. She was able to find the cage in a lot of critical situations, culminating in the T of C championship.”

Porteous’ intensity amplified her athleticism that included speed and quickness. And underneath it all flowed a fiery competitive nature chiseled by years of chiding by three sports-minded older brothers.

Porteous said her primary plan is to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she will weigh whether or not to play for the school’s club field hockey team.

Regardless, she will look back with gratitude upon her sisterhood of Sailors.

“I’m going to miss it so much,” she said of putting on the Tars’ trademark plaid pleated skirt. “It has just been such a staple of my high school career. It feels like leaving family, but there is a necessary next step. I’m already thinking about playing in the alumni game. It will be cool to see everyone again.”

There was an inevitable next step when the T of C all-tournament honoree left the field after the championship victory.

“Everyone came back to my house and we ordered pizzas and had sparkling cider,” Porteous said. “We had fun and reminisced in the moment, then everyone went home and slept.

“I woke up with a huge smile on my face. It hit me that it all actually happened and we did it.”

They almost certainly would not have done it, without Porteous doing what she does.

Mckenzie Porteous

Born: Jan. 27, 1999

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5 feet 1

Sport: Field hockey

Year: Senior

Coach: Amanda Boyer and Judy Schaefer

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite movie: “The Italian Job”

Favorite athletic moment: “It would have to be scoring the [game-winning] goal in the [Tournament of Champions final on Saturday].”

Week in review:

The senior forward helped the Sailors win three playoff games in five days, including scoring the golden goal 81 seconds into overtime of the final against Edison on Saturday at Westminster High.

Game Recap

As seen in the Daily Pilot:

Field Hockey: NHHS Chix off to hot start
Sailors field hockey team improves to 10-1-1 with convincing win over Westminster to open Sunset League play.

By Steve Virgen

Here’s what you need to know about Newport Harbor High’s field hockey Sunset League opener on Wednesday at Davidson Field: It was a blowout, as the Sailors won, 9-0, with seven different scorers. Newport Harbor won its 10th game and senior Jordan Blanchfield has scored at least a goal in each of them, as well as at least another goal in a tie game.

Here’s what you need to know about the Newport Harbor field hockey team: Wednesday’s win was an apt reflection of the program, guided by Coach Amanda Boyer, a former player on the squad known as the Chix With Stix.

This team is much more than just a cute nickname. With the dominant win on Wednesday, the Sailors improved to 10-1-1. Their lone loss was to San Pasqual, 3-0, in the title game of the 16-team Otay Ranch Tournament in Chula Vista this past weekend.

Newport Harbor opened its season with a 2-1 win over defending Tournament of Champions winner Harvard Westlake Sept. 2.

That victory and the Sailors’ hot start has given the team belief that this has the potential to be another special season for Newport Harbor. The team is seeking its first Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions title since 2011, when the Sailors completed a run of four straight crowns.

Last year, Newport Harbor finished third in the TOC.

“They have been consistently getting better with each game,” Boyer said. “We started out with little tweaks and we still have little tweaks, but as each game goes by it just keeps getting better. It’s nice to see their hard work.”

Their hard work was tested at the Otay Ranch tourney, as the girls endured high temperatures while competing on artificial turf.

They kept working hard, together as a team doing their best to meet and surpass the challenges set out by Boyer.

“I told the girls when we started out that we have the potential [to win TOC],” said Boyer, who played goalie for four teams that reached the TOC final and won one in her senior year of 2003. “If we rise to the potential, we have a very good chance of doing very well. I think we started out with so much potential so to see them get better with each game I think we can reach that potential and maybe surpass it.”

There appears to be great pride among the girls on the team to maintain tradition and have the Sailors return to winning championships. The participation numbers on the teams is quite healthy, as 15 girls are on the freshmen team, 16 on the junior varsity and 20 on the varsity.

Yes, 51 girls are out for field hockey, running around with a stick, chasing after a little orange ball, in Newport Beach of all places.

“It’s a really fun sport that the girls enjoy,” Boyer said, explaining why there are so many girls in the program. “It’s a program that holds a lot of tradition. So the girls really enjoy that. There’s a lot of camaraderie. They like to carry that through.”

Players like Blanchfield and junior Peyton Groves also sense that this could be a special season, but more tests are coming ahead. The Sailors play at Fountain Valley on Thursday, then next week is huge with Huntington Beach on Tuesday and rival Edison on the Chargers’ artificial turf on Oct. 3.

“I want to get it back,” Blanchfield said of winning TOC. “I don’t want to be the [seniors] who didn’t win one.”

Groves was a key part of the defense that continually stuffed Westminster on Wednesday. She also noticed a strong determination from the Sailors since the beginning of the season.

“Our program has had a successful past,” Groves said. “Coming on to this team, you can just feel the intensity. We are all working toward a common goal.”

Pity Westminster on Wednesday. The Lions dropped to 1-5.

The Sailors jumped out to a 6-0 first-half lead and never looked back.

Daniela Vazquez scored two goals and had an assist, and Caroline Gels added two goals. Blanchfield contributed a goal and an assist.

Mia Baigiu, Cameron Dewan, Haley Martinez and Alexandra Vasquez scored a goal each, while Noelle Hubbard and Sophie Schwarzenbach finished with an assist each.

Newport Harbor Junior Varsity Field Hockey also shutout Westminster 9-0. Go Newport!

Game Recap

Daily Pilot High School Roundup: Sailors stun Oilers
Newport Harbor field hockey team deals Huntington Beach first loss in Sunset League.

NEWPORT BEACH — Senior Jill Messersmith scored the game-winning goal with about 14 minutes left to lead the Newport Harbor High field hockey team to a 2-1 Sunset League win over rival Huntington Beach Tuesday at Davidson Field.

It was the Oilers’ first loss in league play.

Sophie Templin provided the assist on Messersmith’s goal.

Newport Harbor (13-4-3, 5-3-1 in league) scored first, 20 minutes into the game, when Taury Hlinka shot toward the cage and Jordan Blanchfield followed it and smacked it in for the 1-0 lead.

Huntington Beach tied it up with about 21 minutes left.

“This is [the Sailors] best played game of the season,” Newport Harbor Coach Amanda Boyer said. “I’m so proud of the way they played together as a team and excuted all the things we’ve been working on this season.”

Boyer said the win didn’t matter in the league standings, as the Oliers remain in first and the Sailors in third, but the victory has given Newport Harbor confidence with the Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions starting on Monday.

The Sailors, who close out the regular season at Fountain Valley on Thursday, are seeking their fifth straight TOC title.

Newport Harbor is the only team to have scored on the Oilers this season, Boyer said. Jane Layton had a standout game and also helped lead the Sailors to the win, Boyer said.

Playing on the grass at Davidson Field also helped, as opposed to playing on the artificial turf at Huntington Beach, where the Sailors lost, 3-1, Oct. 24.

“It was definitely home-field advantage because [the Oilers] d0 so well on turf,” Boyer said.

Newport Harbor JV Field Hockey beat the Oilers 1-0 with the only goal by Alexa Luckow. Coach Kerrie Gates noted the standout play by goalkeeper Erika Nilsson.