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Sailors have stellar start

Jogwe tallies two goals and an assist as Newport Harbor wins its Sunset League opener Thursday.

January 06, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Members of the Newport Harbor High girls' soccer team joined hands to make a long line after their Sunset League opener.

Then they rolled into each other. The mass of bodies eventually turned into a big circle near the middle of Davidson Field, like a big hug.

Despite a tough preseason, it's nothing but positive vibes for the Sailors. They believe this is the year they can make an impact in league.

They got off to a good start Thursday evening, dominating play and beating Marina, 3-0.

Junior Josie Jogwe scored twice and assisted on senior Natalie Swift's goal for the Sailors (2-8-3). Newport Harbor looked like it was ready for primetime under the lights, even if was the team's first win since the season-opening one against Baldwin Park on Dec. 2.

"It's difficult for the players," Coach Larry Draluck said. "I have to keep encouraging them to keep believing in themselves, and understand that their hard work is going to pay off. I've been very happy with 80% of the soccer that we've been playing. We've done some silly things because we're not the most experienced soccer team, and only a handful of players play for the most competitive clubs. But I'm very happy. Today, we cashed in."

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Swift, a midfielder, said the seniors are definitely motivated. The Sailors have found it tough in the Sunset League; they haven't made the postseason since they were in the Sea View League in 2005.

But even as losses piled up during December, nobody got down.

"I think we've been fourth [in league] every year I've been on the team," Swift said, knowing only the top three teams are guaranteed Division I playoff berths. "That's the biggest thing, I think this year the seniors have been on teams that always had the potential. This year, we just want it so bad because we're so sick of it. Want can overcome anything. The desire to win can overcome."

Newport showed that desire from the start against Marina (1-4-3), and it paid off in the 18th minute. Jogwe was in the right spot as senior forward Mary Yeager's shot went off the bar, and she tapped it in.

The Sailors struck again in the 31st minute, as Jogwe's cross from the right went to Swift in the box. Swift, who stands 5-foot-3 and said she probably has a "half-inch vertical," was guarded closely by the Vikings' Shannon Butler and knew a header was unlikely.

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