Sailors blanked by Tesoro

Newport Harbor's first postseason run since 2005 ends in CIF Division I second round.

February 22, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor High girls' soccer coach Larry Draluck has been known to try to motivate his players with metaphors, axioms and the occasional tall tale. So it was not surprising when he got philosophical following the Sailors' 4-0 loss to visiting Tesoro in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs on Tuesday.

It is, of course, rather natural to wax positively about a team that made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, then advanced past the first round, despite being the only team among the division's 33 playoff entries to enter the tournament with more than 10 losses.

There were some tears from the Sailors' players immediately after their 8-13-3 campaign came to an end. But Draluck opened the floor to his players in the postgame discussion, and laughter erupted soon enough.

"I've been coaching soccer a long time [four seasons at Newport Harbor to make it 27 years at the club, prep and college levels] and as I've said many times, my emphasis is on the quality of play," Draluck said. "And I really thought we got the maximum out of everybody on our team."


He was speaking about the entirety of the season, as he acknowledged the Sailors, the third-place representative from the Sunset League, did not play particularly well against Tesoro (15-2-6). It was nothing like the performance that helped the Tars knock off Saugus, 2-1, on the road in the first round to hand the Foothill League champions only their third loss in 25 games.

But Draluck was also quick to credit the Titans, who posted their 12 shutout of the season and have outscored their two playoff foes, 5-0, on their way to Thursday's quarterfinals against Flintridge Sacred Heart.

"First of all [the Titans] have a lot of weapons," Draluck said. "But even in this game, as good as they were, we put a lot of pressure on them and we had some good chances to score. Unfortunately, when you get behind, you start chasing the game and it becomes very difficult."

Tesoro took a 2-0 halftime lead by virtue of some deft execution on the first goal, and a defensive miscue by the Sailors on the second goal.

The Titans then took advantage of the hosts' offensive urgency by scoring twice after intermission.

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