Newport Harbor girls’ lacrosse finishes strong, trumps Murrieta Mesa in Division 2 final – Press Enterprise

DOWNEY >> The Newport Harbor girls’ lacrosse team defeated Murrieta Mesa 11-6 to claim its first CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship in school history at Downey High School Saturday night.

Newport Harbor (15-9) finished the regular season in a tie for second place in the Sunset League. The Sailors defeated Chaminade, San Juan Hills and rival Corona del Mar to reach the championship game.

“This is what coaching is all about, having a team like mine that gives it their all every day and confidently goes into every game,” said Newport Harbor coach Brooke Martini. “They know we all have each other’s backs out there. Today they trusted each other and that was the key.”

Senior Olivia Gritzmacher was a four-year starter for the Sailors, eclipsing the 100-point mark for the second consecutive season. The Sailors were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in her freshman and junior seasons.

“I’ve put everything I have into this team and this sport, and to go out like that is the best thing I could have ever asked for,” said Gritzmacher.

Gritzmacher scored twice and won 11 of 19 tie checks. Caroline Close had three goals and Rowdy Farmer added two goals and an assist.

Freshman Casey Sharbrough had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and Lucy Toohey scored twice.

“I think teams shut me out because they know I’m a strong player, but everyone else on this team is just as strong,” Gritzmacher said. “They took it to the target tonight and did what they had to do.”

Murrieta Mesa (20-3) won the Southwestern League this season. Carson Dickey scored three times for the Rams and Ryan Smith scored twice.

Sophia Tresvan had a clear position to open the scoring for Murrieta Mesa and Lauren Kuschel had an assist.

The Rams had some solid scoring opportunities, especially in the first half, but Newport Harbor goalkeeper Lucy Valdes made some close saves to secure the Sailors’ lead.

Newport Harbor had a 10-4 lead with 10 minutes to play and was able to dwell with the ball for six minutes before flipping the ball. The Sailors did not make any substitutions during that possession.

“We train for that. We work hard in practice to hold the ball in moments like this and that’s how we won this championship,” said Martini. “That’s why we run in practice. They don’t like it at all, but they are grateful to me now.”

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