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.

Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week

Senior captain Sophie Evans was honored with Daily Pilot’s Athlete of the Week today! Congrats Sophie!

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week
Evans’ steady presence lifted Sailors
Senior midfielder, the Tournament of Champions MVP, helped “Chix With Stix” win fourth straight title.

Daily Pilot | Matt Szabo

Two of the best days of the year happen in November for Newport Harbor High senior Sophie Evans.

It’s hard to beat going out on top in high school field hockey. She did that Nov. 3, helping Newport Harbor top rival Huntington Beach, 2-0, in the Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions title game.

The Sailors collected their fourth straight TOC title. Evans, a midfielder, collected MVP honors for the entire tournament.

In less than two weeks it’s Thanksgiving, and that’s another great day for Evans. After all, she’s the girl who says her favorite food is Thanksgiving dinner.

This year Evans will not be feeling tired off some Tryptophan. She’ll be on the road for the holiday, in Phoenix for a club field hockey festival with the Mulligan Divots.

“I’ll probably get some takeout or something,” she said.

Evans can still count her blessings. In terms of field hockey, she has so much for which to be thankful.

The Sailors were not necessarily expected to beat the Oilers this year in the playoffs. Huntington Beach defeated Newport Harbor by identical 2-0 scores twice in the Sunset League. Sure, the Sailors beat the Oilers in the final of the OC Invitational, but that was on penalty strokes.

In the TOC, though, the Sailors stepped up. Evans prefers to keep it in those terms, talking about the team. She’s not one to hog the limelight.

“We pulled through,” said Evans, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week. “Our team always pulls through when it matters, and I was pretty proud of them for that. Winning it, the actual day? We just owned it. We all played as a team. I love those girls so much.”

Evans did not score a goal in the three-game tournament, yet her dominance in the midfield was so pronounced that referees and opposing coaches agreed that she was the most valuable player on the field.

Coach Amanda Boyer was not surprised.

She has coached Evans for all four years, the first two on junior varsity before Boyer replaced Devon Kelly as the varsity head coach last year.

This year on varsity Evans was one of three senior captains, along with Allie Pantoskey and Courtney McIntosh. Her leadership qualities have never been in question.

“She’s so driven and has such a high energy,” Boyer said. “She wants the ball. You’re never worried when the ball is loose, because you know Sophie’s going to come up with it. She’s a wonderful offensive and defensive player. And she’s an amazing athlete, but also an all-around outstanding person.”

Coach and player have a bond that goes beyond field hockey. It’s a special group of seniors, the quartet of Evans, Pantoskey, McIntosh and Emily Mitchell. They’re the four players who made Boyer’s JV team four years ago as freshmen.

Evans talked about remembering when Boyer got married. Now her coach has a baby on the way.

“Field hockey has made my whole high school experience, and she’s been the one leading that every year,” Evans said. “More than a coach, she’s been a family figure, motherly. She’s just such an amazing person that I look up to.

“Every year we have a team in August, and it’s like, ‘All right, this is going to be an interesting season.’ She just turns the team from nothing into a winning team every year, and it’s amazing. Her coaching is indescribable.”

Boyer is part of a strong support system for Evans, who has a 4.0 weighted grade-point average at Newport Harbor. That also includes her father, Bart, and mother, Jenifer, who never miss Sophie’s matches. She said her older brothers Buck and Chase, both of whom played sports at Harbor as well, have helped fuel much of her competitive drive.

Evans and McIntosh, who grew up playing soccer together, worked well together in the midfield for the Sailors. Evans’ goal-scoring drive showed up at good times for the Sailors.

She scored a goal in last year’s TOC final, a 2-0 victory over the Oilers. Another time Evans’ drive came out was at a Sunset League match at Fountain Valley on Oct. 13.

Battling foot tendinitis, she was supposed to sit it out for the favored “Chix With Stix.” But after the host Barons went up a goal early, she decided not to take “no” for an answer.

“My foot was being iced and I took my ice off,” Evans said. “I was just like, ‘No way, Amanda. Let me in.’ I didn’t think she was going to let me go in, but she did.”

Boyer put Evans at forward instead of her usual midfield spot, wanting her to score a goal. After Pantoskey scored to bring the game into seven-on-seven sudden death, Evans scored two minutes into overtime to give the Sailors a dramatic victory.

“She went in and changed the momentum and all-around drive of the team,” Boyer said. “She’s just a fabulous kid. I always joke around with my husband [Jason] that I hope our child ends up like Sophie.”

Again, Evans’ focus goes back to the team.

“I felt so helpless on the sidelines, not being able to help them out,” she said. “Obviously, my team, it’s all about them. I just wanted to go in and help out, and we were lucky enough to put it in. But it was all them; it’s not like I won it and stole the show. It was amazing. Definitely one of those crazy moments.”

Evans will miss those moments with the Sailors. She said she may continue playing field hockey in college, but she’s keeping her options open. Academics are also important.

Whatever her decision, she walks off the field at Newport Harbor as a champion. The word she used to describe winning the TOC again was “surreal.”

“I love transferring that aggression and competitive spirit out on the field,” Evans said. “You’re drilling through the balls and scoring goals, then you just have your teammates running up and hugging you and you did it for them too. There’s nothing better than the feeling of winning at the end, and you know you played your best.”

Check and check. Two more things for which Evans can give thanks.

Just save her some stuffing for when she gets back from Arizona.

Sophie Evans

Born: Sept. 12, 1993

Hometown: Costa Mesa

Height: 5-foot-6

Sport: Field hockey

Coach: Amanda Boyer

Favorite food: Thanksgiving dinner

Favorite movie: “The Goonies”

Favorite athletic moment: Winning the Tournament of Champions this year.

Week in review: Evans, a senior midfielder, helped Newport Harbor win the Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions for the fourth straight year over rival Huntington Beach. She was voted the tournament MVP.

Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week

Courtney McIntosh was honored with Daily Pilot’s Athlete of the Week today! Reporter Matt Szabo wrote the following article (or you can read it at the daily pilot here). Congrats Courtney!

McIntosh a joy for Newport Harbor

Junior stopper, named MVP of the Orange County Tournament, is a key player for Sailors.

Courtney McIntosh likes to smile and laugh.

At times, it makes Newport Harbor High field hockey coach Amanda Boyer feel the opposite way.

“I kind of laugh a lot,” McIntosh said. “I’m serious, but at the same time, I really [play] more to have fun. Sometimes Amanda gets mad at me for laughing too much.”

Playing rival Huntington Beach in field hockey? That’s no joke. But McIntosh, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, delivered Oct. 2.

She scored in penalty strokes in the Orange County Tournament championship game against the Oilers. It was tied 1-1 after strokes, so McIntosh’s strike into the bottom left corner allowed the game to go to sudden-death strokes, where Sailors senior Stephanie Storch scored to give the Sailors a co-title. Both teams finished with one loss in the tournament.

McIntosh, a stopper, was voted MVP of the tournament after helping the Sailors claim the title for the first time since 2006.

Boyer wasn’t at the final; she was in Santa Barbara as a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. But she could probably see McIntosh’s big smile in her head after Newport Harbor won.

The first-year varsity coach doesn’t mind it too much. She has seen steady improvement from McIntosh, who she first coached on the junior varsity level two years ago.

“She has a very unique and advanced view of the field,” Boyer said. “She’s very good at having a sense of where all her teammates are, and where the ball needs to go into open space to create plays. She’s a huge leader on the field; she’s a big playmaker.”

McIntosh isn’t quite the baby anymore for Newport Harbor (9-2). She felt that way at times last year, when she made varsity as a sophomore, but she’s used to it. That’s what happens when you’re the youngest of five sisters.

All of Kirk and Sue McIntosh’s daughters — Terra, Krista, Ashley, Alex and now Courtney — have played sports at Harbor. Courtney is also an accomplished soccer player. Like her sisters, she played in the Daily Pilot Cup, the annual youth soccer tournament.

“My dad created it,” she said, laughing again. “I mean, we’re kind of obligated.”

But McIntosh said she recently left her club soccer team, Newport Beach-based Slammers FC. She is getting more serious about being a part of the self-proclaimed “Chix With Stix.”

“This year I decided that if I was going to play college sports, I would definitely rather play field hockey than soccer,” said McIntosh, who does plan to keep playing high school soccer. “It’s more fun-oriented, less serious.”

McIntosh said she was glad to score that penalty stroke against Huntington Beach, after missing twice earlier in the tournament. Momentum can change quick in field hockey, and Boyer is glad her peppy junior is around to lead the charge in converting the Sailors’ defense to offense.

McIntosh is one of several leaders for a defense that also includes senior goalie Sydney King, who was named Most Valuable Goalie at the Orange County Tournament. Sweeper Madeline Storch, Sophie Evans and Natalie Swift also contribute to a Sailors defense that has not allowed a regulation goal in seven games.

Newport is going for its third straight Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions title this year. The main competition again will likely be Huntington Beach.

“They really push us the most,” McIntosh said. “They’re the most fun team to play, I’d say.”

Another win, and she can laugh it up again with her teammates.

“Sometimes I have to tell her to stop smiling,” Boyer said, herself grinning. “If she smiles a little bit too much in an intense moment, I have to get her to get a little more serious. But she’s a great, great kid.”