Schilling makes 'em pay

NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor High senior Kailyn Obenauer smiles when asked about sophomore Elissia Schilling.

Obenauer is the Sailors' senior returning starter at two meters. Schilling, a sophomore center herself, might be considered a secret weapon.

Well, not so secret anymore after she scored three goals to help Newport Harbor top Foothill, 10-6, in a nonleague game between the Division I powerhouses Friday at Newport Harbor High.

Sailors Coach Bill Barnett was not in attendance. Assistant Brian Melstrom, who was the head man Friday, said the Sailors' legendary coach needed to stay off his feet after experiencing some back issues.

Melstrom said Barnett isn't expected to be sidelined long. The Sailors didn't skip a beat, in part because of their talented centers who combined for half of the team's 10 goals.

"She's definitely a rising star," Obenauer, who scored two goals herself in the win, said of Schilling. "She definitely helps me out in there, and we love to double-post when we're in there together. I wish we could be in the pool more together at the same time."

Obenauer made the most of her pool time. She helped Newport Harbor (2-0), ranked No. 3 in Division I, start strong.

Obenauer scored the team's first two goals, each on the six-on-five, and junior Presley Pender added another power-play strike on Obenauer's assist to help the Sailors earn a 3-1 lead after a quarter.

Newport Harbor finished five-for-eight on the player-advantage. The Tars held Foothill (1-3), ranked No. 7 in Division I, to two-for-six.

"Our driving gave Foothill some trouble, especially from the wings and going backdoor," Melstrom said. "We drew at least three or four exclusions that [first] quarter. That's one of the ways we like to attack."

Junior Maddy McLaren scored a penalty shot in the second quarter, but Foothill threatened in a rare six-on-four opportunity midway through the quarter.

Schilling had the answer on defense, coming up with a field block. Then she had the answer on offense, as her strong backhand goal from about five meters to open up a 5-1 Sailors lead with 4:48 left in the half.

Foothill closed within two goals twice in the second half, the second time when lefty Kelli Boling fired in a power-play strike with 6:32 left in the game.

That made the score 8-6, but it was the Knights' last goal. Schilling scored her final goal on a pass from Pender just a minute later, then senior Stanford commit Catherine Carpenter found Sophie Leveque for an open perimeter look. The junior put it away, giving the Sailors their 10th goal.

Leveque scored twice and sophomore Carly Christian also found the back of the net for the Sailors. Carpenter had four assists and her defensive effort helped hold Foothill center McKenna Mitchell to a single goal.

Junior Jessie Porter led the Knights with three goals.

Newport Harbor senior goalie Sarah Wilkey, who has verbally committed to UCLA, had eight saves.

After four weeks of working hard, Melstrom said the Sailors were itching for some game competition. Things will start picking up for last year's Division I finalists, as Newport plays host to Long Beach Wilson on Tuesday before playing in the Battle of the Bay at CdM on Friday.

"I think we're going to show everybody how good we really are," Wilkey said. "I know the rankings don't say we're on top, but I think we're going to surprise a lot of people."

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