Costa Mesa – The Newport Harbor girls lacrosse team appeared to be comfortably on their way to the second round of the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Division girls playoffs. But leading Los Alamitos 10-5 in the second half, the unthinkable happened, the Griffins tied the game and eventually took the lead and it looked like the Griffins were going to end the Sailors’ season.
Fortunately for the Sailors, Adena Rothbard stepped her game up after the Griffins took the lead. In just her second game back for the Sailors after suffering a concussion four weeks ago, the junior commit to the University of New Hampshire had four goals including the game-tying and go-ahead goals to give the Sailors a 12-11 win on Tuesday at Estancia High School.
“Hats off to Los Al for fighting for fighting super hard and taking advantage of every opportunity they had,” Newport Harbor coach Matt Armstrong said. “I’m glad that our season is still alive, but it barely is.”
The Sailors (12-5) had to outlast a resilient Los Alamitos team, that lost its starting goalie McKenzie Shean to a grade 2 LCL tear and Daisy Haas to a full ACL prior to the playoffs starting. Trailing 10-5 in the second half, the Griffins got the lead down to 10-7, forcing Armstrong to call time out. Armstrong also called time out because Rothbard had tightness in her calf.
“I think all of our players have been pushing their bodies, minds and emotions to the absolute limit. They’ve been working real hard a number of months and at this time of year, those nagging injuries do come out,” Armstrong said.
During the Griffins comeback, they began to dominate the draw control and find players offensively to score. One player that dominated offensively for the Griffins was Kennedi Cantrell, a Colorado State Pueblo commit.
Cantrell brought the Griffins to within 10-8 in the second half. Los Alamitos eventually got a goal from Victoria Hansen to make the score 10-9 and tied the game at 10-10 thanks to another goal from Cantrell.
The Griffins took their first lead of the game, thanks to Kyli Rael scoring on a free position shot with 8:25 remaining in the game. But just like the first match between the Sailors and the Griffins, the Sailors’ defense clamped down when it needed to.
Sailors goalie Jade Rettig made two big saves, one on a free position shot and one against Cantrell. The Sailors tied the game at 11-11 thanks to a Rothbard goal and took the lead at 12-11 at the 2:50 mark.
The Griffins forced the Sailors to turn it over and had one last chance to win it, but the Griffins were unable to get a shot off in time, as their season came to an end.
“My girls couldn’t have done anything differently to change the outcome of this game. They killed it, they did everything I needed them to as their coach, I think they all played their best,” Los Alamitos coach Sophia Aragon said.
Cantrell led the Griffins (5-10) with five goals. Rael, Hansen and Rachel Drukker had two goals apiece. Goalie Kelsey McGrath, who filled in for Shean, had six big saves.
The Sailors’ play at Trabuco Hills on Thursday in the quarterfinals with a time to be determined. The Mustangs beat the Sailors 13-7 on March 7 and haven’t lost to the Sailors since 2011, before Armstrong took over as coach for the Sailors.
“We just have to come out 100% and show Trabuco what we have,” Rothbard said.