Determined Roxbury tops Jefferson in 2 OT

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

ROXBURY – They were giggly, enthusiastic and more excited than any 4-8 team has a right to be. But the Roxbury girls lacrosse team hasn’t given up on its season and the girls had plenty of reason to cheer after a 13-12 double overtime victory overJefferson on Friday on their home turf.

Kellie Kucinski had four goals and one assists and Rebecca Dobbins had three goals and an assist for Roxbury. Both Kucinski and Dobbins had goals in the overtime and Jaime Eichvalds, Danielle Wilk and Brielle Amendola each had a pair of goals for the Gaels.

Gabbie Sauicke scored four times and Victoria Marini and Emily Scognamiglio each had hat tricks. Scognamiglio was huge late in the contest for the Falcons. She scored twice in the last 6:14 including the game-tying goal with 32 seconds left in regulation. Sauicke scored in the second 3-minute overtime period forJefferson (9-4).

The Gaels, which built a 6-1 lead just six minutes into the game, didn’t get depressed even after letting a 9-5 halftime advantage melt away.

“We’re a team that never gives up,’’ Kucinski said. “It’s all heart. If one of us goes down, we all go down. Our team has a big connection of friendship and that’s so important “  

Roxbury’s Brielle Amendola and Jefferson’s Lora Child battle for the ball in Friday’s game.

Coming off a disappointing 16-0 MCT loss to West Morris on Wednesday hasn’t dampened the Gaels’ enthusiasm.

“We haven’t had the best season,’’ said Roxbury goalkeeper Courtney Wolfson, who had 12 saves on Friday. “We weren’t going to take no for an answer. We weren’t going to go 50 percent, we were all going 110 percent.’’

Roxbury defeated Jefferson last year, but knew that the Falcons were in the midst of one of their best seasons ever and have found ways to stay competitive against tough opponents.

Roxbury led nearly all game. They had a one-goal advantage and kept possession of the ball for nearly five minutes late in the contest but couldn’t keep Scoganamiglio from sneaking in the game-tying goal late. Going into the overtime, the Roxbury players just talked about keeping focus.

“We talked about being there before because we did play overtime against Wayne Hills,’’ Roxbury coach Kevin Bewalder said. “A couple of my defenders said that they were not letting what happened against Wayne Hills (a 12-11 loss on April 12) happen here. We just have to bring everything we can and take it to them.’’

Roxbury’s Rebecca Dobbins guards Jefferson’s Raquel Merritt during Friday’s contest.

Kucinski doesn’t remember what she did to create open space and score just 25 seconds into the first overtime to give Roxbury a 12-11 edge, but she does recall her desire to put the ball in the net.

“It was going in,’’ Kucinski said. “That ball — if I had to go in the net with it – it was going in.’’

Less than a minute later, the Gaels picked up Eichvalds’ draw and Kucinski found Dobbs for the eventual game-winning goal. Roxbury was able to spread out the Falcons’ zone defense. Dobbs found a seam in the zone and a quick pass led to a score in front of the cage.

“Rebecca and I have a very weird connection,’’ Kucinski said. “We can run a play completely wrong sometimes and still get a goal off of it. One of the best things about Rebecca is you can trust her. IF you throw the ball to Rebecca, she’s going to catch it and she’s going to put it in.”

Jefferson’s Gabby Sauicke attempts to escape from a Roxbury defender during Friday’s contest.

Jefferson’s Sauicke connected on a tight shot that she just lifted over Wolfson’s stick with 1:36 left in the second overtime period to account for the final score. The Gaels were able to seal the triumph with a crucial ground ball that was picked up by Wilk just inside a minute remaining to help her teammates run out the clock.

“I don’t think she gets enough credit,’’ Kucinski said. “Sometimes we call Danielle “playbook”. She knows the plays and she sees the field really well. That ground ball probably saved us the game.’’

Is this a win that will help the Gaels to more victories in the second half of the season? It’s difficult to say but just the fact that they continue to believe in each other is an encouraging sign.

“I believe confidence is one of the strongest qualities a lacrosse player can have,’’ Kucinski added. “Sometimes we lack confidence but today we won with confidence.’’

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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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