Unbeaten Morristown edges defending MCT Champ Kinnelon in OT

By Mark Kitchin


MORRISTOWN–Morristown’s Stephen Delargy was angry with himself after missing a scoring opportunity at the tail end of regulation and vowed to put the ball in the net the next time he got the chance.

The Colonials were glad that he didn’t waste any time.

Delargy connected on an unassisted goal at 1:55 of the overtime to lift Morristownto a 4-3 triumph over Kinnelon in the quarterfinals of the Morris County Tournament on Thursday.

Delargy fired a hat trick to lift the fourth-seeded Colonials into their first MCT semifinal contest in school history and keep the Colonials unbeaten at 11-0. Goalkeeper Gordy Pierce made 10 saves including some tough ones as defenses ruled in the tightly fought and physical contest. They will pace top-seeded Delbarton in Saturday’s semis.

Greg Budd scored twice and Mike Alaimo added a goal for the defending champion Colts (4-8) who matched the Colonials effort and intensity. Alaimo bounced in a low shot off a Kobi Frankel feed with 4:18 left in regulation to send the contest into overtime.

“It feels amazing,’’ Delargy said. “We just work so hard every day in practice. We come out hard and we compete every day and get better.’’

Morristown players celebrate a first-half Stephen Delargy goal during Thursdays MCT quarterfinals.

“It’s awesome,’’Morristown coach Jeff Bigas added. “They earned it. They’ve been working hard all year. A lot of them have been working hard for three or four years. It’s good to see it pay off. I can’t stress enough how much these guys deserve it.’’

With about 30 seconds left in regulation, a Kinnelon turnover and a ground ball byMorristown defenseman Alec Schunk helped DeLargy gain a breakaway one-on-one with Kinnelon keeper Ryan Ulrich but his low shot was a little off and deflected away eventually forcing the extra period.

“After missing that shot I knew I was going to score the next one,’’ Delargy said. “I was going to put it in the back of the net. I was confident. It was bothering me the whole rest of the game.’’

Both teams had brief possessions in the overtime. Morristown won the faceoff and called time out but then lost possession, when a well placed Kinnelon check steered a Morristown pass out of bounds. Kinnelon got the ball and called timeout. Seconds later Pierce stopped a high shot from a Colts attackman that was headed for an upper corner.

“I saw it coming the whole way so I stayed strong.’’ Pierce said. “It went right in the stick.’’

Morristown’s Kyle Goss pushes the ball to the Kinnelon cage during Thursday’s MCT contest.

The Colonials were able to clear the ball and Delargy took it behind the cage as was previously planned. The junior attackman got a step on Kinnelon’s standout defenseman Orrin Main and squeezed just outside the crease and slipped in a low shot to give the Colonials their biggest triumph ever on the Morristown High home turf.

 “In the huddle coach (Bigas) told them to give me the ball,’’ Delargy said. “We just took it down and worked it one-on-one. If nobody could cut, then I was going to goal. I just took it behind waited patiently and saw a guy’s slide come. I made a dodge and put it low. (The goalie) didn’t see it. I was too close.’’

The Colonials also got a huge lift from Pierce. The experienced senior goalkeeper made 10 saves including several that bounced around in the crease when the contest was still in doubt.

“Coach told me I had to come up big this game,’’ Pierce said. “I haven’t been playing as good as I should be playing. I had to make the saves that counted.’’

“Gordy has a tendency in big games to really step up and make some big saves right when you need him,’’ Bigas said. “That’s exactly what you want in a goalie especially when you go deep into a playoff situation.’’

It was a defensive-minded contest with Morristown Schunk and Kinnelon’s Main setting the tone. There were some fierce ground ball battles and long time-consuming possessions that ended up in stalemates.

Morristown’s Stephen Delargy is kept track of by Kinnelon defenseman Sean Robbins.

Delargy’s sweeping shot of a Schunk pass gave Morristowna 1-0 lead at 5:30 of the first quarter. The Colts knotted the game at 1-1 early in the second quarter on Budd’s low bouncing shot. Kyle Goss regained the lead for the Colonials with a hard, low righty shot just before the half.

Budd knotted the game at 2-2 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter but Morristowntook the lead again on a man-advantage goal created by a Kinnelon cross-check penalty. Delargy jumped hard to his right to snag a wild pass by Brad Hersh but then made a quick move to his left to bury his second goal from just outside the crease with 32 seconds left in the quarter to make it a one-goal game.

Kinnelon tied it in the fourth quarter. Seconds after an offering from Kinnelon’s Peter Morreale rattled off the Morristown crossbar, Frankel fed Alaimo above the crease and he placed a low bounce shot in the net with 4:18 to set up the overtime. Despite Kinnelon’s best efforts, Morristown  answered overtime to dethrone the defending champs.

It has been a consistent progression for the Morristown program over the last five years, building from a 2-17 mark to the team’s current unbeaten status. The Colonials barely missed upsetting Mountain Lakes in last year’s quarterfinals. This year they will face top-seeded Delbarton, their neighbors just a mile or two up Route 24.

Other MCT scores:

Delbarton 9, Madison 4 – The top-seeded Green Wave battled the Dodgers for three quarters before pulling away with a 4-0 fourth-quarter run. John Schiffer had three goals and Alex Heaton scored twice for Delbarton.

MountainLakes9, Mendham 3 – The Lakers pulled away with a 5-0 second-quarter run to take a 7-1 lead at the half. Tim LaBeau had the hat trick and Bill Burgoyne and Greg Cuccinello scored two goals apiece.

Chatham 14, Mount Olive 6 – Nick Guida scored four goals, Matt Proto had two goals and three assists and Jack Eisenreich had two goals and two assists for the second-seeded Cougars.


About mcvbb

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

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