The Newport Harbor High girls' lacrosse team has had no shortage of close games early in the season.
Senior Adena Rothbard scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Sailors beat San Juan Hills 15-14 on Thursday. Two days later, Newport Harbor lost a nail-biter to Park City, from Utah, by a 13-12 score.
Tuesday's nonleague game against Tesoro was the Sailors' third consecutive one-goal game. And it was their second straight tough loss.
Newport Harbor let one slip away at home. Titans sophomore Ava Pinto scored a golden goal just before the buzzer concluding the six-minute overtime period as Tesoro won 10-9.
Tesoro (1-3) rallied past Newport Harbor (2-4) to pick up its first win of the season. Senior goalkeeper Leah Olsen also played large for the visitors, making 13 saves.
"Their goalie did very, very well," first-year Newport Harbor coach Brooke Martini said. "She was really good low."
Olsen's save of a free-position shot by Newport Harbor sophomore Caroline Farley with 40 seconds left in overtime kept Tesoro alive. The Titans gained possession and played for the last shot, which Pinto put away for her only goal of the game.
Senior Hannah Maurer scored a game-high five goals for Tesoro. Farley led Newport Harbor with three goals, adding to her team-best total of 22 this season. She and junior Delaney Knipp also helped the Sailors dominate draw controls, winning 14 of 18 on the night.
Newport Harbor played most of the game without Rothbard, the Sailors' second-leading scorer and one of two team captains along with junior defender Elise Skytte. She was injured after colliding with Tesoro senior Alexa Catanzariti near midfield with 12:19 remaining in the first half. Martini said that Rothbard, who scored the Sailors' first two goals of the game, rolled her right ankle.
The Sailors fell behind 5-2 late in the first half before scoring seven straight goals, opening up a 9-5 lead with 13:42 remaining in the second half on junior Mariana Miller's free-position goal.
"Coming out [stronger] in the first half is something we're trying to work on," Martini said. "We come out sleepy, in a way. We look like we don't know what we're doing, and then we sort of kick it into gear."
Newport Harbor, which got seven saves from freshman goalkeeper Willa Rath, also struggled late. The hosts would not score for the final 19:42 of the game. They would end up losing to Tesoro in a close one for the second straight season, after falling 9-8 in regulation last season.
But Newport senior Lysie Kenney said the Sailors are progressing under Martini, who played lacrosse at Chapman University before graduating in 2016.
"We've been working so hard in practice, and we can definitely see that paying off on the field," Kenney said. "That was such a close game. It kind of came down to luck, honestly. We showed our skill on the field, which is what counts. A lot of teams are stagnant throughout the season, and they don't keep growing, but we've been working really hard to do that."
Newport Harbor returns to action Saturday with a 10 a.m. nonleague home game against San Marcos.