Newport Harbor ready to make playoff run
The Newport Harbor girls lacrosse team accomplished one goal Thursday night.
With their 11-1 victory over Yorba Linda, the Sailors clinched their first outright Century SE (Century Sunset-Empire) League title.
The Sailors’ focus will soon be turned toward another goal: advancing out of the first round the U.S. Lacrosse Orange County Championships.
Last year, the Sailors drew the 15th seed and lost in the opening round to the eventual champion, second-seeded Foothill.
The Sailors are likely to have a better starting point this time around when the playoff matchups are announced. It is all part of the growth of the program.
“We were expecting to be undefeated in league, and with one more game, we will be able to execute that,” Coach Matt Armstrong said. “Looking at our nonleague schedule, we wanted to face the best competition around. We played a number of teams in the top 10 and top 15.
“We didn’t have that breakthrought win we were all looking for.”
They had enough near-misses that Armstrong believes his team will be primed for the playoffs.
“Most (of the losses) were close,” he said. “We lost by two to Trabuco Hills (8-6), one to Beckman (7-6) and Los Alamitos (9-8), and by two to Corona del Mar (9-7). Foothill and Mater Dei handled us early, but the girls are battle-tested.”
The Sailors are led by senior Rylie Siegfried, but several others have also made important contributions, including Katie Hendrix, Adena Rothbard, Jordan Rausch and Heather Roberts.
Newport Harbor concludes the regular season next week with road games against Temecula Valley and Esperanza. The playoff pairings will be announced April 30.
The top three girls lacrosse teams in the county are Mater Dei, St. Margaret’s and defending champion Foothill. Mater Dei and St. Margaret’s are undefeated.
Armstrong believes after that group, there is parity in the county.
“I think there could be a lot of good first-round games,” he said. “I think you could possibly see a 12th seed beating a 5 seed. The top three teams, I think any one of them could win it (title).”
Last year, fourth-seeded Beckman defeated top-seeded Mater Dei in the county semifinals.
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