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Newport stuns Laguna Beach

Schilling's sudden-death goal caps dramatic comeback for Sailors, who will meet top-ranked Foothill in TOC semifinals.

January 13, 2012|By Matt Szabo

GOLETA — As of Friday night, the favorite Twitter account of the Newport Harbor High girls' water polo team stood at 44 followers.

"Things Schil Says" (@thingsschilsays) is an account where the Sailors post tweets, often colorful in nature, that are quotes from their junior teammate Elissia Schilling.

"Six more followers and we're at 50," senior Maddy McLaren said. "That's our goal. The goal will consistently be rising, but right now it's set at 50."

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Talk of Schilling and goals isn't just reserved for cyberspace. She scored a huge one Friday night to win a Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions quarterfinal at Dos Pueblos High.

Schilling's lob shot with 1:09 left in the first sudden-death overtime period capped a dramatic comeback, as No. 4-seeded Newport Harbor stunned No. 5 Laguna Beach, 7-6. The Sailors will play top-seeded Foothill in a TOC semifinal game at 11:10 a.m. Saturday at Santa Barbara High.

Newport's stirring comeback was fueled by Schilling, who scored a game-high three goals. The last one was the biggest, and after she scored she raised both hands in celebration.

"I knew the clock was running down, so I spun real quickly and held my water," Schilling said. "Sophie [Leveque] got [the ball] in, and I tried to go for the ejection but that wasn't working. I saw the goalie kind of coming out to steal it, and I just flicked it up."

The Sailors (10-3) stole one from Laguna (13-2). The Breakers owned a 4-0 lead at halftime. It seemed reminiscent of the CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinals last year, when Laguna shut down Newport to claim a 7-3 victory.

Slowly Newport came back Friday. Allyson Hall broke the Sailors into the scoring column off a pass from fellow junior Avery Peterson. Then Schilling scored a six-on-five goal. After Peterson scored (assisted by Presley Pender), the Breakers' lead was trimmed to 4-3 after three quarters.

"I think we came back with a lot of energy in the second half," said McLaren, who had one goal and three steals. "We just never did that in the playoffs last year. We just let it get into our heads. I think this game, the second half, was really a team effort. There were a lot of goals where someone would get a steal that would lead to a counter, to a kickout, and someone else would score. That's one person scoring but five people doing something great."

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