Chatham wins, Mendham loses classic in state group finals

By Mark Kitchin

Group II and Group III girls lacrosse

Chatham girls lacrosse captured a Group II title on Thursday. Mendham did not but played in what will be remembered as one of the most thrilling and memorable girls lacrosse games in state tournament history. Both contests were played as part of a doubleheader at Robbinsville High School.

Chatham defeated Rumson-Fair Haven 16-8 behind a seven goal effort from Jaclyn Leto. The Cougars advance to face Moorestown in the Tournament of Champions semifinals next week.

Moorestown defeated Mendham 14-13 in four overtimes in the Group III title game. Junior Stephanie Toy connected off a pass from Nikki McMonagle with 2:07 left in the fourth overtime period to give the Quakers the victory.

Chatham 16, Rumson-Fair Haven 8

The contest was tied 4-4 at the half before the Cougars took control with a 12-4 second half effort. Leto scored five of her goals in the second half to initiate the run.

Chatham took control by scoring five consecutive goals to start the second half, Leto scored two and Kallan Murray added a pair of goals to help Chatham build a 9-4 advantage 10 minutes into the period. Some of the success was attributed to Brittany Marriott’s move to the draw which was able to free up several Chathamplayers on the circle to capture more draw controls and gain momentum after goals.

Cat McCutcheon, Kate Murphy, Murray and Mary Kate O’Neill each scored two goals for Chatham and goalkeeper Hannah Reader made six saves.

The Chatham defense helped limit Rumson’s top scorer Chrissy Lushefski to a goal and two assists. Charlotte Brodsky and Megan Douty scored two goals each. The contest was a rematch of last year’s Group final which Chatham captured 17-5. The Cougars have now won three state titles in the last four years. Mendham knocked them out of the Tournament of Champions last year.

Moorestown 14, Mendham 13 4OT

If this would have been a Tournament of Champions final, it would have been a classic. Mendham showed its grit by rebounding from a 7-0 deficit in the first 18 minutes of the contest. The Minutemen cut it to 7-4 by halftime and carefully chipped away until taking a 13-12 lead with Nicole Graziano’s third goal of the game with about a minute left.

The lead wouldn’t last. The Quakers won the faceoff and Haleigh Dalmass scored with 10 seconds left to force the first of several overtime periods.

Both goalkeepers Mendham’s Abby Witczak (7 saves) and Moorestown’s Bridget Bianco (12 saves) showed their determination and made tough saves during the overtimes.

Mendham’s Nicole Graziano finished her brilliant high school career with a hat trick. Aly Messinger and Maggie Sinzer also had three-goal and games and Hayley Keith and Gia Padavano had two goals apiece.

Moorestown’s Toy had five goals and four assists and McMonagle had two goals and two assists for the Quakers. Moorestown plays Chatham next week in the Tournament of Champion semifinals.


About mcvbb

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

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