Sailors fall behind

Newport Harbor falls from first to third in league after suffering setback against Los Alamitos.

February 01, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — A CIF playoff berth is an accomplishment for the Newport Harbor High girls' soccer team.

The Sailors haven't made the postseason since 2005, and they're close this year.

"I think our magic number is one," Coach Larry Draluck said Tuesday night.

Unfortunately for the Sailors, Draluck can no longer use that same number when describing his team's Sunset League standing.

Los Alamitos sophomore forward Raya Young made sure of that, scoring twice in the second half as the Griffins won the battle for first place, 2-0, at Davidson Field.

The Sailors (6-9-3, 5-2 in league) drop to third as Los Alamitos and Edison are both 6-1 in league. Young stunned the hosts, as her goals came within a three-minute span.

In the 49th minute, she was there to clean up after a shot from the left by Callie Taylor caromed off sliding Newport Harbor goalie Emily Browne.


Los Alamitos Coach Steve Soler didn't want his team letting up.

"I preach to these girls, 'The first five minutes is important after you score,' " Soler said. "That's when a team is kind of off-balance; they're rattled a little bit because of the goal. That's when you've got to go at them again."

Young didn't quite need the whole five minutes. In the 51st minute, she knocked another goal in after a teammate crossed the ball from the right.

Newport Harbor is believed to have never won a league title in girls' soccer. The Sailors no longer control their own destiny in that regard, although their magic number is indeed one for clinching a CIF Southern Section Division I playoff berth.

With three league games remaining, the Tars only need another win or loss by Marina (2-4-1 in league) to clinch a spot in the postseason.

Draluck knows that Los Alamitos, ranked No. 3 in the Division I coaches' poll, is a dangerous team. The Griffins outscored the Sailors by a combined 5-0 in the teams' two league matches.

"It's hard to explain this to the players," Draluck said. "If I play Brazil, they're better than me. If I refuse to acknowledge that, then I'm being silly. This is not [legendary former Notre Dame Coach] Knute Rockne, where I go, 'Hey guess what? We're the best team. We'll beat the Lakers or we'll beat Brazil.'

"But if we do X, Y and Z, then we have a chance to win. We did it for, you know, 50 minutes [today]. But when they scored the goal, I saw people doubting."

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