Mendham and Chatham continue MCT quest

 By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

Mendham would like a little redemption. Chatham would be just as happy for another MCT title. Only one team will get that wish as Chatham and Mendham square off  Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Roxbury High School to determine this year’s Morris County Tournament champion.

Mendham will be going for its fifth county title in school history.Chathamwill be working for its third.

The top seeded Minutemen looked dominant going into last year’s tournament final which they dropped 7-6. This year they have also had dominating performances during their recent 10 game win streak including a 13-5 victory over West Morris. In that triumph, like in many of their other games, Mendham has rocketed out to tremendous first-half performances (11-0 at half) only to slow down in the second half.

Mendham (12-1) was able to atone for their county loss with a victory over Chatham on the way to the state final. Of course, like any team the Minutemen enjoy taking home hardware and they would certainly like to add another banner to the crowded Mendham gym.

Maggie Sinzer is one of the many players that can provide offensive firepower for the Minutemen.

Offensively, Mendham can certainly fill the nets. Nicole Graziano, Aly Messinger and center Morgan Holleran are capable goal scorers. Mendham averages 13.8 goals a game and has scored in double-digits in 12 of its 14 games.

Holleran pulls the draw to wherever the Minutemen can pick the ball up. The Minutemen can strike quickly in transition or they can work the ball expertly in order to find the right matchup to exploit. Messinger is especially gifted when she’s behind the cage, threading passes to her teammates or using her speed to attack the cage herself.

Defenders Hayley Keith and Carley Horan have also played well and despite her small size goalkeeper Abbie Witczak can play big. Her experiences in the cage last year as a freshman will only add to her determination this year. Overall, Mendham only allows 6.2 goals a game.

“We’re playing great defense,’’ Mendham coach Jessica Shoulberg said. “On the offensive side what counts is we are scoring and when it counts we are playing great defense.’’

Jaclyn Leto, right, is Chatham’s primary scorer. She has more than 50 goals this year. (photo courtesy of Karen Fucito.)

Third-seeded Chatham (14-3) is anxious to keep its title. The Cougars advanced to the final with a hard fought 7-6 win over rival Mountain Lakes behind Jaclyn Leto’s four-goal effort.

Leto has emerged as the team’s top scorer with more than 50 goals and 20 assists.Chatham has good balance at attack as Kallan Murray, Kelsey Perselay, Cat McCutcheon, Liz Hyde, Kate Murphy and Lauren Maiorano can all find the net. Overall,Chatham also averages 13.8 goals a game. It is uncertain whether defender Lindsay Ford will play because of an injury but if she doesn’t the Cougars will use her as an instrument to rally behind. Goalkeeper Hannah Reader is rock steady in the net. Chatham surrenders nine goals a contest.

Another close final similar to last year wouldn’t be surprising because the draw is critical and both teams have girls that can pick up the ball. Both teams are potent around the net so possession is vital.

MCT Girls Lacrosse Champions

 1997 – West Morris 10, Montville 5

1998 – West Morris 13, MountainLakes 7

1999 – West Morris 7, MountainLakes 6

2000 – West Morris 8, MountainLakes 4

2001 – West Morris 13, MountainLakes 6

2002 – West Morris 12, MountainLakes 6

2003 -Mountain Lakes 10, Mendham 3

2004 -Mountain Lakes11, Mendham 7

2005 – Mendham 15, West Morris 8

2006 – Mendham 11, West Morris 7

2007 – Mendham 15, MountainLakes 11

2008 – Chatham 11, Mendham 10, 2OT

2009 – Mendham 10, Mountain Lakes 2

2010-  Chatham 7, Mendham 6

2011 – ??????????????????

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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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