Some good scoring chances came and went for the Newport Harbor High girls’ soccer team in the first half Wednesday night.
Still, it felt like a goal was coming for the Sailors against Mission Viejo in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
A pair of sophomores provided it in the 36th minute. Samara Golan passed the ball up to Reese Bodas, who beat the goalkeeper into the left corner.
That proved enough for Newport Harbor, which earned the 1-0 victory at home.
It’s the first postseason win since 2011 for Newport Harbor (17-2-6), the Wave League champion which will play at Santa Margarita in the second round Friday. Santa Margarita (10-4-8) beat Northwood 2-1 in another first-round match Wednesday.
A big season will continue for the Sailors after Bodas notched her 10th goal of the season, which ties her for team-best honors with junior Skylynn Rodriguez. Golan, who said she played club soccer with Bodas for several years when they were younger, provided the assist.
“They cleared it, and Emily Johnson toed it to me,” Golan said. “I saw Mackenzee Blaser and [Bodas] both running down the field, and I just crossed it to them. [Bodas] with her speed killed it.”
The goal came after the Sailors nearly scored twice earlier in the half, once in the ninth minute when Mission Viejo goalkeeper Allison Lee dove to her left to avoid an own goal after Bodas’ shot deflected off a defender.
In the 13th minute, Newport Harbor’s Sadie Pitchess put a shot on frame after Rodriguez’s corner kick, but Mission Viejo’s Mikayla Downey was there to clear it off the goal line.
“I think we knew something was coming,” Sailors coach Justin Schroeder said. “We got one before the half, and it was a nice goal too in the run of play. It was good going into halftime up, and not feeling frustration.
“We’re playing good soccer, and obviously going through the [Sunset Conference] prepares us for a CIF type of run. All four of [the teams in the Surf League] made it to CIF. I think we’re ready. We’re going to be ready for Santa Margarita. We tend to raise the level of our game. Going on the road will be a whole different test … I think you’re going to see two very similar teams.”
The Newport Harbor defense led by players like Golan, Jenna McConnaughey, Liz Peters, Makenzie Trigo and Nicole Laz blanked Mission Viejo (9-4-5), the second-place team from the Sea View League. Jessica Gardner (first half) and Samantha Nowak (second half) split time in goal and earned the shutout.
The Sailors, who finished ranked No. 7 in the final Division 1 poll, look forward to traveling to play the Eagles, who were Division 1 finalists last season. Bodas said she plays club soccer for LAFC Slammers with two Santa Margarita players, goalkeeper Grace Klosinski and midfielder Mackenzie MacMillan.
“It’s definitely kind of a rivalry game for me, but that doesn’t mean anything on the soccer side,” Bodas said. “It’s just fun playing against my friends, and it’s going to make me want to work harder.”
In a larger sense, Bodas said she is enjoying the Sailors’ run of success this season.