Strong second half lifts Montville

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

TOWACO – Anything can trigger momentum on the lacrosse field. An ill-timed penalty, a great play or sometimes even just a jump in intensity can turn a tie game into a rout.

A young Montville team experienced a little bit of everything in its 11-4 victory overMount Olive on Friday at Dawson Camp Field.

Jaime Intile, Ashley Bello, Abby Haimson, Shelby Labe and Danica Witty each scored two goals apiece to lift the Mustangs (3-1).

Mount Olive dropped to 4-2 despite Alina Santana’s hat trick.

The contest was tied 3-3 at the half but Montville went on a pair of 4-goal sprees in the second half to take control of the contest and gain one of their most impressive wins of the year.

“It’s a really big win,’’ junior center Labe said. “We we’re tied with them in our conference. We just wanted to come out and show them what our team is like this season.’’

Montville’s Shelby Labe gains control of the ball with Mount Olive’s Maria Liberapoulos in hot pursuit.

The Mustangs are a young group, with only two senior starters, but at times they play as if they have been together for years. Montville has four starting freshmen that seem to thrive on varsity play. Haimson, Intile, Nicole Dvoretsky and Carly DeNegras are among the most active athletes on the field.

“They are the best though — they come in with so much experience,’’ Johnson said. “A lot of them played in the off-season in the Ath-Ed league and a lot of them play on club teams and it pays off.’’

Mount Olive’s Tess Callaghan scored with 51 seconds left in the first half to knot the game at 3-all going into halftime. In the second half, the Mustangs made some minor adjustment with most of it coming in attitude.

“We just tried to pull together,’’Labe said. “We tried to pick up the intensity. Allowing no dropped balls was our key aim. Everybody on our team was more motivated and interested in helping each other out more.’’

Perhaps the biggest play of the game was a slashing call on one of the Marauders early in the second half. She was given a yellow card for her foul. In past year’s when girls lacrosse players were carded they would have to leave the game for three minutes but they were replaceable. This year, they leave the game with their team one player short for three minutes. The severity of the penalty can be a definite game-changing event.

“(The penalty) helped us a lot on both ends of the field,’’ Johnson said. “We definitely have to be more careful (playing defense). It’s totally changed our discipline. We have to be very careful and conscious of our checks.’’

Mount Olive’s Alina Santana (8) celebrates one of her three goals in the first half of Friday’s game.

The Mustangs took advantage of their opportunity. Back-to-back goals by Intile and Witty gave Montville a two-goal lead with 17:53 left to make it 5-3.

Mount Olive called a time out to try and break up the run but momentum had clearly swung Montville’s way after the penalty expired. Labe was able to push her draws to open Mustangs and players like Haimson and DeNegras were busy in the open field gathering ground balls and providing possessions. Some of those possessions resulted in offensive opportunities.

Robyn Sedell connected on a free position and Intile picked up a ground ball and bounced a righty shot into the low right corner of the net to give the Mustangs a 7-3 advantage.

Alina Santana earned her hat trick by connecting on a feed around the 10-minute mark to make it 7-4 but it was the last goal the Marauders would score.

When Mount Olive gained control of the ball, deep defenders Johnson and Dvoretsky and goalkeeper Julie Hoffman kept the Marauders from getting back in the game.

In the final minutes, the Montville offense continued to click. Bello scored twice and Haimson and Witty also added goals to turn what was once a close game into a runaway Mustangs triumph.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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