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Alex Enriquez lifts Newport Harbor past San Juan Hills

Alex Enriquez lifts Newport Harbor past San Juan Hills
Newport Harbor's Alex Enriquez (9), pictured here in a boys' soccer match on Jan. 13, 2017, finished with three goals in the Sailors' 4-3 win over San Juan Hills on Wednesday. (Christine Cotter)

The Newport Harbor High boys' soccer team was without coach Ali Khosroshahin when it hosted San Juan Hills on Wednesday night.

Khosroshahin was absent from the sidelines for the Sailors, serving a one-game suspension given through a red card in his team's previous match in the Aliso Cup on Saturday.

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Without Khosroshahin, Newport Harbor would still find a way to win four days later.

Behind a three-goal performance by Alex Enriquez, the Sailors were able to defeat the Stallions 4-3 at Davidson Field.

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Enriquez came back from a scary injury late in the first half to lift Newport Harbor (2-3) in the nonleague match.

"It was probably the most scariest experience in my life … because I thought that I tore my ACL," Enriquez said, "but luckily it started healing up a bit after, and I was able to come back in and, thank God, score two more goals [in the second half] to help the team win."

It only took Enriquez three minutes to score his first goal.

Richard Torres connected with Miguel Sanchez on the break and Sanchez beat the San Juan Hills goalkeeper, but the ball hit the post, where Enriquez would tip it in for the easy finish.

The Stallions (0-3) would equalize a couple of minutes later on a defensive mishap by the Sailors, leading to a score on the run by Jack Monach.

Both teams traded opportunities but neither would find the back of the net for the remainder of the first half. Enriquez would leave the pitch with 10 minutes remaining in the half, unable to walk on his own, but his night was nowhere near finished.

"Alex is one of our leaders, he's a senior, so I always knew that if there was a way for him to get back on the field he was going to, you just want to be safe especially this early in the season," said assistant coach Terrance Gunnells, who filled in for Khosroshahin. "If there is anything I know about Alex he is going to do everything he can to be on the field, and once he said he was ready to go, I knew 100 percent he was ready to go."

It was a cold, windy night at Newport Harbor and the weather conditions came into play in favor of the Sailors in the second half. The Sailors once again were able to score three minutes into a half, but this time it was from the foot of Alvin Mancilla.

Mancilla's shot was from 40 yards out and curved right out of the reach of the keeper to give the momentary edge for Newport Harbor.

The Stallions' Morgan Suit would finish off a set piece for the Stallions with 20 minutes left in the match, receiving a free kick and finishing near the left side of the post, to level things once again.

Enriquez was subbed back into the game and his help on offense was instant. In the 68th minute, Enriquez also benefited from the help of the Santa Ana winds as he let go of a shot from the right side of the post, at an angle with little room for success, that beat an outstretched keeper and give the Sailors the lead.

With just eight minutes left, Enriquez scored the dagger. He received the ball in the box, and on the quick turn, Enriquez blasted it to the back of the net doubling Newport Harbor's lead.

JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @JGonzalezSports

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