Chatham sets to battle Ridgewood in T of C semifinal

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

The Chatham girls lacrosse team nearly started the season with a loss to Ridgewood. The Cougars certainly don’t want to end it with one, too.

Chatham has gone a long way this year and the thought of finishing its season one game short would be tough to take. Chatham and Ridgewood square off in a Tournament of Champions final on Tuesday at 5 p.m.  Their contest follows a battle between Moorestown and Glen Ridge which will begin at 3 p.m. Both games are being played on the turf field at Monmouth University.

It was in the second game of the year that Chatham lost to Ridgewood15-9. The Cougars fell to 0-2 that day and little did they know it would be half their number of losses for the season.

Chatham is coming into the game winning 15 of its last 16 contests and six in a row. They have also been extremely impressive in state play by allowing only 7.5 goals in the tournament while scoring an average of 13.

Jaclyn Leto has also been impressive. She has 93 goals on the season but practically everyone has chipped in to support her. Kelsey Perseley, Kate Murphy, Kallen Murray, Cat McCutcheon, Liz Hyde and others have been putting the ball in the net.

Leto has 121 ground balls to her credit and Perseley and Brittany Marriott have also been doing their fair share of the ground ball work in order to give Chathamthe possessions it needs.

After a slow first half against Rumson-Fair Haven, the Cougars were in complete control in the second half of their 16-8 Group II victory. Leto scored five of her seven goals after halftime to give her team a distinct edge.

Ridgewood won the Tournament of Champions last year and they have not lost to a New Jerseyteam this year. The 21-1 Maroons also have a top scorer in Kelci Smesko, who has 86 goals including four of them against Chatham in that early victory. Sam Giordano (39 goals, 55 assists) is a tough scorer in her own right and along with Laurie Beausoleil picks up ground balls at a steady rate. Jess Miller, Sally Jentis and Kaitlin Concilio are also steady sticks that Chatham goalkeeper Hannah Reeder and her defense have to watch.

Overall Ridgewood, which has only lost to Long Island powerhouse St. Anthony’s, has given up 8.4 goals a game and has scored close to 17 goals a contest.

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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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