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.
Born: Jan. 27, 1999
Hometown: Newport Beach
Height: 5 feet 1
Sport: Field hockey
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.