Mendham edges Mt. Lakes on Sinzer’s late goal

By Mark Kitchin


MENDHAM – It took more than half a game to find it, but when the Mendham girls lacrosse team finally discovered the passion it needed, Maggie Sinzer and her teammates used that power to defeat a determined rival.

Sinzer connected with 8.9 seconds left in regulation to lift Mendham to a 13-12 triumph over Mountain Lakes in girls lacrosse action on Tuesday on Mendham’s turf field.

Aly Messinger scored six goals and Sinzer added four goals for the Minutemen which opened the season with a 2-0 mark. Mountain Lakes dropped to 0-2. Ingrid Hermanson fired a hat trick and Hallie Walker, Casey Drollinger and Lizzie Lee scored two goals apiece for the Lakers.

The Lakers led 6-3 early in the second half but the Minutemen rallied on their home turf.  There were four ties in the final 15 minutes of play before Sinzer moved to herright to the center of the field and uncorked a righty shot to give her team a dramatic victory.

Mendham’s Aly Messinger connected for six goals to help the Minutemen edge the Lakers on Tuesday.

“When we play our rivals it’s not about lacrosse, it’s about who wants it more,’’ Sinzer said. “We had a reality check.  When we got on the field originally we weren’t ready and we had to bring it in the second half.’’

Sometimes teams that are used to success have to be reminded of the energy and determination needed to defeat an opponent that is hungering for victory.

“This is the most passion we’ve had in a game this year,’’ Mendham’s Aly Messinger said. “This was a hard game to win. We’re glad we won. I’m so proud of our team.’’ 

 It was Sinzer who was determined to finish it off. The senior attack player got the ball on her stick with half a minute remaining and the score tied. She had to make a decision that would give her team a victory

Mendham’s Maggie Sinzer scored four times including the game-winning goal on Tuesday.

“I was open and Mess was guarded and I knew I only had about 30 seconds,’’ Sinzer said. “It was up to me. I blocked everyone else out and did my move and took my girl one on one and I was able to get a good shot off.

 “I just kind of went with the flow and then when I was up close I kind of ripped it. I knew I had to get power on it because the goalie (Lauren Smith) was very good.’’ 

 Sinzer is like many Mendham seniors on this year’s varsity team who may have had stretches of playing time over the years but have not forged a role for themselves. Sinzer had to overcome adversity early on as a player and she may be ready to take that next step.

“Maggie is a great senior,’’ Mendham coach Jessica Shoulberg said. “She is one of the captains of the team. She’s a great leader. She has come a long way. She had an ACL injury during her freshman summer, going into her sophomore year. Last year she was working through it and she’s been a totally different player this off season.’’

Mountain Lakes’ Lizzie Lee celebrates a first half goal. The Lakers led 5-3 at halftime.

Morgan Holleran and Nicole Graziano, talented players and leaders graduated last spring and players like Sinzer will be needed to fill the void. Messinger, a returning All-American, is comfortable putting the ball in the net but the North Carolina-bound standout can’t do it alone. 

“I don’t know if she’s had a game winning goal (for Mendham),’’ Shoulberg said. “She had three big goals in our (state tournament) loss to Moorestown last year. She started to carry that out and tell herself, ‘I can do this too.’ ’’

Mountain Lakes, which has emerged as one of Mendham’s traditional rivals over the years, was no pushover. The Lakers were coming off a narrow loss to Oak Knoll on Saturday and they were determined to earn a victory.

 “We knew they were going to come out strong,’’ Messinger said. “We know a lot of them personally. We play club lacrosse with them. They are very good. We were prepared but we came out a little flat.’’

Mountain Lakes built a 5-3 halftime lead with the help of a pair of Lizzie Lee goals. Hermanson spun off a Mendham defender and scored the opening goal of the second half to make it a three-goal game. For most of the second half, the Lakers spent their time answering each Minutemen threat with a goal of their own.

With 15 minutes left and Mountain Lakes up 8-6, Mendham called a time out.  The Minutemen regrouped and found a little extra passion and played with some added emotion that they didn’t have for the first 35 minutes.

“It’s always such a battle,’’ Messinger said. “It comes down to having heart and both of us equally had heart.’’

Mountain Lakes’ Jackie Perry (24) makes good use of Lizzie Lee’s pick during first half action.

Back to back goals by Sinzer and Messinger (on a free position) tied the game at 8-all with 12 minutes left. It would start a thrilling sequence in which the teams tied on four consecutive occasions, each with Mountain Lakes taking a brief lead and Mendham roaring back for the equalizer.

 Mendham finally took the lead when Mariah Salerno converted a Gia Padavano feed with 3:43 remaining to make it 12-11. This time the Lakers were forced to answer. They did it on Hallie Walker’s free-position goal that was placed expertly in the right side of the net with 1:32 left to tie the game at 12.

 A foul gave Mendham the ball off the faceoff but Ali LaBeau scooped up a loose ball to give the Lakers possession. Mountain Lakes had a solid scoring opportunity with about a minute left but one of the Lakers got overexcited on her shot and was carded for propelling.

The Minutemen won the subsequent draw, worked the ball downfield and into Sinzer’s stick for the game winner. Time will tell if they also learned some lessons along the way that will help them reach their potential.

“We have to tighten up our defense and get better in the midfield.  We have a long road ahead,’’ Shoulberg said. “There’s enough experience on this team. We didn’t come out to play for 30 minutes and we did for 20 minutes. Today that was enough but it’s not going to carry us this season. We have to start playing with more of a sense of urgency.’’

Girls Lacrosse local scores

Chatham 18, West Essex 5 – Jaclyn Leto scored eight times and Kelsey Perseley added five goals for Chatham.

Kinnelon 19, Montville 12

Oak Knoll 16, Morris Knolls 8

Morris Catholic 11, Mahwah 10

Northern Highlands 14, Jefferson 4

Indian Hills 19, Morristown 14

Glen Rock 13, Roxbury 9

Glen Ridge 19, West Morris 9

Boys Lacrosse

Montville 15, Fair Lawn 7 – Jake Haimson had four goals and two assists, Ryan O’Lear scored four times and Kevin Wolfson had a hat trick for the Mustangs.

Kinnelon 6, Morristown 5, OT

Randolph 9, Johnson 8, OT

Voorhees 15, Boonton 3

Seton Hall Prep 14, Madison 4

Summit 14, West Morris 4














About mcvbb

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

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