There is no shortage of high school girls’ soccer talent in Newport Beach.
The Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar girls’ soccer teams are ranked Nos. 3 and 6 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll. They have high hopes of winning the Wave and Surf League titles, respectively.
After an intense Sunset Conference crossover match Thursday night, the players all gathered to take a big group picture at Davidson Field.
“That says a lot,” Newport Harbor senior striker and team captain Sadie Pitchess said. “That’s what both coaches focus on, sportsmanship. We’re all friends. We don’t want anything from the field to go off the field.”
As for the Battle of the Bay match itself, it didn’t lack theatrics.
CdM junior midfielder Bella Vigeland scored in the 79th minute as the visiting Sea Kings salvaged a 1-1 draw with the Sailors.
Teammates piled on Vigeland after the final whistle. It was her strike from the left from about 25 yards out into the upper part of the net, assisted by senior Mia Ferrentino, that helped CdM (10-0-2) stay unbeaten.
Earlier in the second half, Vigeland had a straightaway shot from a similar distance that hit off the crossbar.
“I felt it coming,” said Vigeland, who is right-footed but hit her match-tying shot with her left foot. “I knew we were going to get something. There was energy from everyone.”
It was a tale of two halves, as Newport Harbor (14-2-2) generally controlled the action before the intermission and CdM brought players up late to try to get the equalizer.
The Sailors nearly scored in the 10th minute on Pitchess’ precise through ball to junior midfielder Reese Bodas, but the shot was saved by CdM sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Walls.
Newport Harbor did take a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute on junior center back Samara Golan’s first goal of the season. Golan’s free kick from 41 yards out, near the left sideline, skipped through the box and into the upper-right part of the net untouched.
“I just tried to go far post, and if I keep it on frame, it could be a goal,” said Golan, a recent Cal Poly San Luis Obispo commit. “We could get a deflection, or someone could get their head on it. It just went right.”
The Sailors peppered Walls, who made five saves. Newport Harbor junior goalkeeper Itzia Rivera made two saves, including one on dangerous CdM senior striker Megan Chelf in the second half.
Chelf, who was marked well by Newport Harbor senior captain Nicole Laz for much of the night, got her best look off a set piece in the 59th minute. Erin Jones’ corner kick from the right bounced around to Chelf, whose blast seemed to be going in before Rivera got to it with her right hand.
But the Sea Kings kept pushing, and eventually the goal came.
“We never gave up,” CdM coach Bryan Middleton said. “We played hard through the whole 80 minutes. Once we connected a little more through the midfield and with our outside defenders, and gained a little more possession of the ball, it made it more comfortable for us to be creative around the top of the 18 [yard box].”
Newport Harbor, which beat CdM 3-0 last year, still improved to 2-0-4 in its last six matches against its rival. And players from both teams seemed to be in good spirits after the match.
“We’re all Newport,” Golan said.
Newport Harbor, now 1-0-2 against the Surf League, concludes Sunset Conference crossover play on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Los Alamitos. CdM hosts Fountain Valley on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Bonita Creek Park.
“This is how you want the crossovers to be,” Sailors coach Justin Schroeder said. “You want them to be tight, good games. I think we’re kind of proving that we belong.”
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