Olivia Gritzmacher lifts Newport Harbor girls’ lacrosse over rival Corona del Mar
In German, the “Macher” at the end of Olivia Gritzmacher’s last name means “doer.” That isn’t quite descriptive enough a word to explain what the Newport Harbor girls’ lacrosse captain did Tuesday in her team’s 13-7 Battle of the Bay victory over Corona del Mar.
Gritzmacher exploded for nine goals, including eight of the Sailors’ first 10, on the way to their second victory of the season over Corona del Mar, the No. 2 ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll.
Her dominant performance came just one game after she scored seven goals in a victory over Edison. Gritzmacher prefers to credit the rest of her team for her success.
“It feels good,” Gritzmacher said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates. Like Joelle [Rothbard] getting on those draws, Cat [McCrory] getting on those ground balls down low, Lucy [Valdes] getting all those saves. The stats don’t show it, but the whole team is into it and that contributes to my success.”
The Sailors also had strong contributions from Rothbard, who scored three goals, and Valdes in goal. She made 11 saves in the winning effort.
Corona del Mar (12-4, 1-3 in the Sunset League) enjoyed standout performances from Frankie Garcia, who scored twice and Belle Grace, who added two goals of her own in the loss.
Garcia saw her team keep up with Newport Harbor (11-5, 3-1), which is ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll. It’s a positive result after Newport Harbor defeated CdM 13-3 earlier in the season.
“I think we got possession a lot more than we did in the last game,” Garcia said. “We played with them. We were more composed and calm, much less frantic. We still need to work on playing as a team. We need to work on trusting each other.”
After Gritzmacher scored the game’s first goal just over 90 seconds in, Haile Franklin and Belle Grace scored back-to-back to give CdM an early 2-1 lead.
Gritzmacher scored twice more to take the lead back for Newport Harbor before Garcia scored to tie the game 3-3. Newport Harbor went into halftime leading 10-7, with eight of those goals off the stick of Gritzmacher.
CdM head coach Jessica Murray complimented her opponent’s standout performance but remained proud of her team’s effort in the loss.
“She’s fast,” Murray said of Gritzmacher. “She’s talented. She’s just a really good player and she works for it. I was very impressed by her play today.
“I think when you look at the stats from the first game we played them; our draw controls were about even, we didn’t give up nearly as many eight meters. I really think our girls came and played hard. I’m proud of what they did today.”
The teams started the second half at a more methodical pace until Valdes came up with a critical point-blank save on Garcia, which swung the momentum back in Newport Harbor’s favor. In the next minute of play, Rothbard scored two goals to extend the Sailor lead to 12-7.
Valdes wasn’t finished. With her team up 13-7, she made three more point-blank saves to seal the victory for Newport Harbor. For the sophomore goalie, aggression is the key.
“Making the first save point-blank is always just like ‘Wow,’” Valdes said. “Having it right there again for the rebound, you just have to go crazy. I think I ran out at the girl and hit her with my stick, sometimes I block it out afterward.”
Newport Harbor head coach Brooke Martini has enjoyed seeing the growth of her young goalie.
“A lot of the girls on our team are building their confidence,” Martini said. “She’s only a sophomore and she’s doing amazing as a goalie. She’s saving us so much and her confidence is building too.”
CdM hosts Edison Thursday, while Newport Harbor hosts Los Alamitos.
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