Newport Harbor girls’ soccer remains unbeaten with win over Edison

With a wink and a nod, the Newport Harbor High set piece was in motion.

Senior midfielder Emily Johnson dropped her right foot onto a free kick, sending the soccer ball into a crowd of bodies to the left side of the net.

Johnson’s pass found its way to sophomore forward Reese Bodas, and she redirected the ball on a bounce into the right side of the net.

The execution was perfect, and the Newport Harbor girls’ soccer team remained unbeaten this season in defeating visiting Edison 2-0 on Tuesday in a Sunset Conference crossover game.

“That little pass by Emily Johnson was not planned at all,” Bodas said. “We planned to shoot it, and then Edison ended up moving up their line with [its] wall. We saw the space in the back, and I gave EJ the little look and stuff. I was like, ‘EJ, look,’ and then she was like, ‘I got you.’

“I see the ball, and I’m like, ‘I got this one.’ I just tapped it in, and it was a goal. That was a really good feeling because we actually hadn’t beaten Edison on this field yet, so I was like, ‘This is our year.’ ”

Bodas wound up with a goal and an assist. She sprung junior forward Skylynn Rodriguez loose with a lead pass up the left sideline after winning the ball against an Edison defender.

Rodriguez chased down the ball, and she eluded Chargers sophomore goalkeeper Kayla Martin, who had come off her line to challenge. The shot rolled into the cage, giving Newport Harbor its second goal in three minutes and a 2-0 lead just 20 minutes in.

Edison High's Emily Crownfield, center, battles for a loose ball against Newport Harbor's Alyssa Sims, left, during the first half of a Sunset Conference crossover match on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Newport Harbor (8-0-3) put seven of its 10 shot attempts on target, an efficiency rate that Sailors coach Justin Schroeder remarked comes and goes throughout a season.

“We knew that it would [come],” Schroeder said. “That’s kind of how soccer goes. You miss a bunch early in the season, and those goals are going in two weeks later.

“We just kind of kept doing what we’re doing. We worked on our finishing, worked on our build-up to our finishing, and making sure that we’re composed in the box.”

Daiana Moreno, Jenna McConnaughey, Samara Golan and Nicole Laz supplied the back line for the Sailors.

Newport Harbor has now kept a clean sheet in 10 of its 11 contests. Jessica Gardner made two saves in the first half, and Sammy Nowak stopped four shots in the second half for the Sailors.

“I think the main thing for defense is to get your mental state right, and we’ve all been there for each other,” McConnaughey said. “Honestly, it’s more fun that way, too, so we’re all having a good time back there.”

The Battle of the Bay is next for Newport Harbor, as the Sailors will travel to take on Corona del Mar at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

The Chargers (5-3) came close to cutting the lead in half in the 53rd minute. Junior forward Morgan Roberts hit the inside of the nearside post, and the ball came out the other end.

Martin had five saves for the Chargers.

Edison coach Kerry Crooks said that the match provided a chance for her team to show its character. The Chargers made several changes to their lineup due to disciplinary reasons.

“I think it will help us in the long run,” Crooks said. “It obviously didn’t help us tonight, but that’s OK. I felt in the second half that they played really, really well. I thought they showed a lot of character after going down 2-0. We had plenty of chances on goal.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to learn your lessons for life. It’s more important than coaching a score in a soccer game, for me.”

Twitter: @ProfessorTurner