MCT Girls Semifinal Preview

By Mark Kitchin


The favorites handled their quarterfinal contests quite easily last week. Now the top four seeded teams will get down to determining who will earn the right to compete in the Morris County Tournament final. West Morris and Mendham renew their sisterly rivalry on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.. Chatham and Mountain Lakes will clash on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The winners will play for the title on Wednesday, May 11 at Roxbury High School.

Chatham at Mountain Lakes –Chatham pounded Morristown 17-6 to earn the semifinal berth. The Cougars are on a roll winning their last seven games going in. They have an efficient offense. Jaclyn Leto has more than 50 goals and 20 assists and seems to be their target player. Kallan Murray, Kelsey Perselay, Lindsey Ford, Cat McCutcheon, Liz Hyde are all effective scorers, that also defend well. Goalkeeper Hannah Reader is steady in the net. Mountain Lakes earned the higher seed by virtue of a 7-6 win over Chatham on April 2. The Lakers have had a tough schedule and persevered through several ups and downs. They got a little revenge from last year’s state tournament loss by dismissing Madison 15-5 in the quarterfinal round contest. Megan Ryan, Casey Drollinger, Hallie Walker, Ingrid Hermanson and Grace Newfrock have long memories. Carly Gniewek is between the pipes for the second-seeded Lakers (6-4).

West Morris at Mendham – The Minutemen scored 11 consecutive goals but then ran into a little second half trouble finishing off Kinnelon 19-9 last Saturday. They will not fall into that trap playing their sister-school rivals. Nicole Graziano, Aly Messinger and center Morgan Holleran often fill the nets with goals. Against most teams their ability to pick up ground balls and score is enough to keep them way ahead. As they get involved in tournament games defensive players like Carley Horan have to step up and solid play by goalkeeper Abbie Witczak will be essential for the Minutemen to capture another title. They will be confident going into the game since they toppled West Morris 14-4 back on April 6.

However, the Wolfpack is playing much better. They were on a roll before a recent 14-13 loss to Summit thwarted their momentum. Center Amy Ernst is back from an early season concussion. She is the key to the draw. Getting the ball to Emily Delaney, Megan Monaco and Carly Shello among others will be essential in fourth-seeded West Morris’ hope for an upset. Their young defense has also stiffened in recent weeks with Maggie Underdahl and goalkeeper Chrissy Baffuto up to the task. West Morris handles a good Morris Knolls team 16-5 in the quarterfinal round. They will also have plenty of incentive to upset the top-seeded rivals.


About mcvbb

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

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