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Tars' goal: strive for five

Newport Harbor field hockey team intensifies work after winning four straight Tournament of Champions crowns.

September 03, 2012|By Steve Virgen

For the past two weeks, the Newport Harbor High field hockey team has been preparing for the season with two-a-days.

The Newport girls went through rigorous conditioning in the morning and worked on technique and team aspects in the afternoon. It's a traditional process for them at this time of the year, but there seems to be much more at stake this season.

When it comes to field hockey, Newport Harbor is a dynasty. Last year, the program won its fourth straight Los Angeles Field Hockey Assn. Tournament of Champions.

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The Sailors know they must work harder to continue the success.

"It's a lot of pressure to be honest," senior captain Jane Layton said of living up to the hype that comes from the four consecutive TOC titles. "But that pressure just turns into motivation. Each year is different. In the end, it would be great to win it again, but as long as our team can do the best we can do that's really all that matters. We want to play to our best ability.

"Winning the past four TOC titles, we do have a huge target on our back but that just makes us want to work harder and play better as a team."

"Team," is an important word among the Newport Harbor girls, also known as "Chix with Stix." Last year, when Newport Harbor did not win the Sunset League title, Coach Amanda Boyer continued to remind her players the importance of teamwork heading into the postseason.

She also stressed improvement and encouraged the team as it continued to peak at the right time.

This year, if there is ever adversity, Boyer can again point to the importance of teamwork. It's even effective at the start of the season. Newport Harbor opens the season against Harvard-Westlake at Davidson Field on Tuesday.

"This year's team is really different from last year," said Boyer, a former goalie who has compiled a 44-6-2 record in her two seasons as head coach. "They really want to want play as a team and are excited to be with each other. There is a lot of excitement about being on varsity. That will carry them to getting stronger and being ready to play this season."

Boyer, who was an assistant coach for two years before becoming head coach, said there has been great community support for the program. The supporters are also in favor of the team concept, because they have seen it produce success.

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