Mountain Lakes girls stun Mendham

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MOUNTAIN LAKES – When do the hunters become the hunted? In sports terms it’s when a team attains an elite status of excellence and expects opponents to lift their efforts to knock them off.

Mountain Lakes girls lacrosse is not there yet but if it continues winning games like they did on Thursday the Lakers might be on their way to earning that kind of attention.

Victoria Kalamaras scored five goals and Allie LaBeau and Jackie Perry notched two goals apiece to lift Mountain Lakes to a 12-5 triumph over Mendham on the turf at Mountain Lakes.

Maddy Siebold, Megan Ryan and Meredith Newfrock also registered goals for the Lakers (2-0). Sarah Allison and Julie Krupnick shared eight saves.

Becky Gohsler scored four times for the Minutemen which drop to 1-1. It breaks at least a nine-year drought for Mountain Lakes against its county rival.

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Mountain Lakes’ Victoria Kalamaras sprints to the goal while a Mendham defender gives chase on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Lakers have always had good teams and successful records but this year they seem capable of something more. They have a balanced offense, veteran defense, two talented goalies and an air of confidence and excitement about them. Who says they can’t be one of those teams that turn the next two months into something very special.

“As a team every single girl on this field has never beaten Mendham before,’’ midfielder Megan Ryan said. “It’s all about the will to win. Every girl on the field — every girl on the sideline — wants it even more than the girl next to her. We all as one group just want it. We don’t care who is getting the credit. It’s all about our team getting the recognition it deserves this year.’’

Mountain Lakes coach Jen Munday recognizes that this year’s group has some qualities that can potentially lead a good team to greatness.

“Mendham has such a strong program and they are always well coached,’’ Munday said. “I’m just proud of our kids because they are playing together. It’s an extremely unselfish group of kids. No one is taking credit and everyone is backing each other up. It’s a true team. They are fun to be around and it doesn’t feel like it is work. They work hard all the time. They do everything you ask and they are very smart.’’

Nine of the Lakers starters are seniors and there is a strong junior class pushing them. The maturity and experience that the Lakers have give them an edge that many of their opponents have difficulty matching.

“This is one of the most confident groups that I have coached,’’ Munday said. “They are confident in their abilities and confident in each other, both are really important. You have to be able to trust your teammates and know that they can do something, too. Every day at practice is really just a great atmosphere.’’

All great teams start with defense. The Lakers are senior laden and have the physical abilities and experience to be formidable. Alexa Wilson, Bridget Newfrock, Peyton Annese and Bozzo are stalwarts with other anxious teammates rotating in support and making their contributions, too.

“It’s pretty steady from the past years,’’ Bozzo said. “The veterans have the knowledge but the younger kids are so eager to come out and help us with the goal of shutting down a team’s key players.’’

The Lakers defense seems comfortable whether senior Sarah Allison or newcomer Julie Krupnick is between the pipes.

“Splitting time with Julie is good,’’ Allison said. “She’s young and inexperienced but she gives it her all. The defense has our backs and we can trust them all the time.’’

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Mountain Lakes goalkeeper Sarah Allison and a prized possession. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

There were a few Mendham scorers that they were concerned about, but Mountain Lakes was able to keep their opponents’ scoring opportunities to a minimum.

“We were definitely concerned about Devon Russell and Maria Salerno,’’ Bozzo said. “The main objective was to get together, communicate the slides and get them there. We noticed that from the beginning they were working and shooting from really far out. Sending that early slide, you can double and pressure those girls.’’

The Lakers mixed and matched on the draws with Perry and Kalamaras taking the bulk of them. Once they get the ball, the Lakers are good in transition. Their balanced scoring attack keeps opposing defenses guessing.

“We’ve been talking about that all year,’’ Ryan said. “No one cares who is scoring. It’s just that we are scoring. That makes us hard to defend. You can’t pinpoint two or three girls. Our entire offensive force can’t be stopped on one side or another.’’

Scorers like Alli LaBeau and Jackie Perry are athletic, physical and fearless at pushing the ball to the net.

“Alli is a huge part of our offense,’’ Ryan said. “We focus a lot on 1-v-1s and drives from the top. Alli is one of the fastest girls I’ve ever played with. She’s very confident in herself and so is everyone else around her. We are more than willing to clear out for her and give her that space to drive. When she has space, she will capitalize on it every single time. She can break girls’ ankles — literally make them fall to the ground — and be one-on-one with the goalie every single time.’’

The Lakers jumped out to a 4-1 lead with the help of a pair of Kalamaras goals and scores by Cronk and Ryan. Kalamaras is a proven goal scorer with a nose for the cage.

“She was a great player as a sophomore,’’ Ryan said. “She’s matured this year a little bit more. It’s to the point where she is confident to take the ball herself. She’s a leader on the attacking side even though she’s not as vocal as the rest of us. She’s great at leading by example and she’s one of the smartest players on the field.’’

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Mountain Lakes Alli LaBeau makes a move to the cage in first half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Getting off to a good start was important for Mountain Lakes on Thursday.

“We wanted to make that statement,’’ Ryan said. “Obviously, Mendham is a great team but we do our best to try and instill fear in the team we are playing against. The way you do that is to come out from the first draw and score those first couple of goals.’’

Mountain Lakes eventually built a 7-4 halftime advantage. The Lakers showed no signs of doubt or awkwardness going into the second half against a team they haven’t beaten in years. They outplayed their division opponents. A change on the draw helped. The Lakers switched Olivia Fernandez on the circle against Gohsler. The result kept the Minutemen from winning valuable possessions or gaining momentum to rally them back.

“Since we were all on the same page, we had that confidence to come out and beat Mendham,’’ Bozzo said. “It’s different from past years. Everyone was excited to play Mendham. This year we had the confidence. We could attack and make the first move rather than sit back and watch them attack us and react to what they were doing. We came out and took it to them right away.’’

Mountain Lakes started the second half strong too when Ryan hit Kalamaras with a long feed to make it a 4-goal game. Her point-blank score just 1:33 into the period was matched a minute later by Gohsler’s fourth goal. However Mountain Lakes and second half goalkeeper Krupnick shut Mendham out the rest of the way. The Lakers scored four more goals from four different players to cement the triumph and get some of the other teams in their division to consider them a little differently this season. They’ve served notice and they feel they can live up to it.

“Now we know that we’ve made that statement to the entire state,’’ Ryan said. “We are not letting up.’’

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The Minutemen looked to regroup after falling behind 7-4 at the half. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

 

Morris County results

Chatham 11, West Essex 10, 3 OT – Mary Kate O’Neill scored five goals including the game-winning goal in the final minute of triple overtime for the unbeaten Cougars (2-0). Chatham rallied from a 9-6 deficit to tie the game at 9-all and send it to overtime. Kennedy Krauss had two goals and two assists and Maggie O’Neill notched a pair for Chatham. Amanda Uliano scored five goals for the Knights.

Madison 10, New Providence 9 – Ali Goret, Molly Fishter and Michelle Montagna each fired hat tricks for the Dodgers (2-0). Madison led 9-4 at the half and fought off a strong second half effort rally by the Pioneers.

Montville 11, Mount Olive 7 – Nicole Dvoretsky scored six goals and Abby Haimson had three goals and two assists for the Mustangs (1-1). Clair Callaghan had three goals and one assist for the Marauders (0-2).

Morris Catholic 11, Fair Lawn 6 – Christine Nassany scored six goals and Lexi Finn and Lyndsie Serafin scored two goals apiece for the Crusaders. Morris Catholic led 6-3 at the half.

Oak Knoll 15, Morris Knolls 5 – Jacie Cooper and Jaime Chapman scored two goals apiece for the Golden Eagles.

Indian Hills 19, Roxbury 10 – Joelle Manganella fired a hat trick and Hali Gruber scored twice for the Gaels.

Glen Rock 14, Pequannock 11 – Ashley Tachon had four goals and two assists and Jess Rigoglioso hard three goals and one assist for the Golden Panthers (0-2).

Caldwell 12, Villa Walsh 9 – The Vikings fall to 1-1. Taylor Medd scored three goals and Kelly Holt and Candace Pallitto notched two goals apiece.

Glen Ridge 15, Kinnelon 8 – Heidi Annaheim had four goals and one assists for the Colts (0-2).

Mahwah 15, Morristown 10 – Caroline Hersh and Casey O’Brian scored two goals apiece for the Colonials (1-1).

Westfield 11, West Morris 9 – Sydney Sapir scored five times and Paige Burton added a pair of goals for the Highlanders (0-2).

North Hunterdon 12, Randolph 6 – The Rams drop to 0-2.

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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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