Field hockey is a sport that thrives on the east coast, but its local supporters showed up in bulk for the rematch of last year’s Tournament of Champions final.
Newport Harbor High and Edison faced each other once more, their first meeting since the Sailors won it all last year.
Two conferences — the Sunset South and Sunset North — account for all of the teams in the counties of Orange and Los Angeles. Edison coach Becca Antongiorgi noted that there is not a lot of parity in the conference, but that reality need not have applied in this matchup.
Despite increased pressure down the stretch, neither girls’ team was able to break through. The teams played to a scoreless draw at Newport Harbor on Wednesday night.
“This was kind of an untested group, so I’m actually really pleased with how they responded,” Antongiorgi said. “I don’t think we’ve had a game with this kind of intensity yet.”
It was a tale of two halves. Edison (11-3-2, 6-1-1 in league) came out the aggressor. Brittany Muché, Katelynn Bradbury and Cori Hoffer were flying up front.
With the defense of Grace O’Neill, Elise Skytte and Maddie Vargas-Brownlee, the Sailors (3-1-1 in league) were able to hold the fort.
In order for a shot to go in without the assist of a deflection, it must be released from within a D-shaped zone, the apex of which comes out to just beyond the 15-yard line.
Newport Harbor earned several scoring opportunities within the fore-mentioned area in the second half. The Sailors had no less than three short corners before the end of regulation.
Rylee Warmington was in the middle of the action for the Sailors, drawing the majority of the infractions called against the Chargers. She also had one of the best opportunities to score, a slap shot off a pass from Lindsey Blanchfield on a short corner during the 50th minute.
Two minutes later, the Sailors got creative. Chloe Bagiu received a pass from the injector on a short corner. Instead of taking the shot, she sent a pass to her left, where Chanse Hill unleashed a one-timer that sailed over the right corner of the goal.
“I thought we got frazzled at the end of regulation,” Antongiorgi said. “We lost sight of the possession, but I’m pleased with how we played. Still a lot of details to work on, but it’s good to have a game like this because it shows them why those details matter.”
Both teams had chances in the seven-on-seven, 10-minute overtime. The best chance may have been a breakaway by Hoffer with three minutes remaining, but Sailors goalie Sarah Sheldon broke off her line and kicked the ball away.
“I was extremely fired up,” Sheldon said. “When they get breakaways, all of your energy goes into that one play. You can’t help but just put your entire heart into it.
“You have to go to them. You can’t give them the space to shoot. You have to beat them to it and get the ball.”
Edison plays at Huntington Beach on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.