Seldom has a Battle of the Bay been such a shore thing, as the Newport Harbor High and Corona del Mar girls' lacrosse teams squared off Friday at Peninsula Park, about a field's length from the Balboa Pier.
CdM had been a sure thing in this rivalry the last seven years, but host Newport Harbor was surely ready to halt the Sea Kings' extended winning streak.
The Sailors did just that with a 9-7 nonleague triumph in a game as heated as the early evening offshore breeze was brisk.
"Playing at the beach was kind of weird," said Newport Harbor senior Katie Hendrix, whose four goals led the way for the winners (7-3), who last defeated CdM in 2009. "You kind of have this laid-back vibe, then you go and have this super intense game against girls that you were born to hate … not actually hate, but that rivalry is there and you are super competitive."
Hendrix, who will continue her career next year at Arizona State, had three goals in the first half to help the Tars earn a 6-2 cushion.
CdM (4-3) made sure the Sailors didn't get comfortable, as it rallied to within 6-4, and later trimmed an 8-4 deficit to 8-7 with 3:52 left in the game.
But Newport Harbor senior Sarah Farley, who will play collegiately at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina, scored her third goal with 1:57 remaining to clinch victory.
"For me it's a huge deal for sure," said Newport Harbor Co-coach Matt Harris. "I've been coaching here for six seasons and I'd never beaten CdM, so this was a big thing on my bucket list. And for the girls, who I think had always been intimidated by CdM, to come out and get a victory like this … I hope it can propel us."
Harris said confidence, as well as determination after a narrow 9-7 loss to CdM last season, helped Newport Harbor earn Back Bay bragging rights.
"I think in the past, we maybe have been a little intimidated with CdM, which is understandable," Harris said. "They are a really good team, so us coming in expecting to win was the main thing."
Newport Harbor's defense, particularly redirecting Sea Kings on attacking runs, was also critical.
The Tars' back line of Hayden Allen, Laura Tran and Delaney Knipp helped limit scoring chances and sophomore goalie Jade Rettig made five saves, all on close-range shots.
Caroline Farley and Heather Roberts added goals for the Sailors, for whom Adena Rothbard had two assists.
Sarah Farley added an assist, while Harris singled out the hustle displayed by senior Jillian Rosten, who along with Hendrix and Sarah Farley are team captains.
"Our main goal last year was to make it to playoffs, and beat CdM," Hendrix said. "We made the playoffs, but we didn't beat CdM, so we kind of carried that goal over to this year. When you're a Newport Harbor athlete, you want to win Battle of the Bay, so we set this game as one of our important goals.
"The lacrosse community is very small, so [CdM players Kennedy Mulvaney, Jensen Coop, Katherine Mulvaney, Ashley Olson, Joslyn Simaan and Ellery Amdor] are all great friends of mine," Hendrix said. "So this is kind of bragging rights a little."
Caroline Brewster had two goals, while Kennedy Mulvaney had one goal and four assists for CdM.
Marina LaBruna, Emily Faludy, Amdor and Coop also had goals for the Sea Kings, for whom Olson made four saves.
Simaan contributed an assist for CdM.
"We just weren't playing our game in the first half," CdM Coach Aly Simons said. "The momentum shifted in the first half. We tried to change it, but it was a little bit too late. We didn't give them a full game."