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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.

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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.

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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.”

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