Morristown topples Morris Catholic in road win

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

DENVILLE — The players on the Morristown girls lacrosse team were happy to take the lead early against Morris Catholic, but in the back of their minds was a reminder – don’t get too happy.

The Crimson stuck to their work and were all business for the full 50 minutes.

Brady Heher and Allie Ferrera scored four goals apiece to lift Morristown to an 11-5 victory over Morris Catholic on Monday.

Casey O’Brien, Maddy Heher and Meghan Siversen also connected for the Colonials and goalkeeper Sarah Langenohl stopped 16 shots for Morristown (2-1).

Freshman Rachel Canning fired a hat trick, Lexi Finn scored twice and Sarah Shirkey added a goal for the Crusaders (3-1).

Morristown had a 4-3 edge in the final six minutes of the first half and it extended it with three consecutive goals before halftime. Two of them were assisted by Caroline Hersh. Brady Heher had two of them, hitting with 5:51 and 2:12 left. Ferrera connected on a Hersh feed with 1:47 remaining to make it 7-3 at the half.

The Colonials pulled away in the second half with consecutive goals by Maddy Heher, Ferrera and Brady Heher to take a commanding 10-3 lead with 17 minutes remaining.

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Morris Catholic’s Rachel Canning (center) scrambles for the ball as Morristown defenders converge on her. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

They can credit the lessons from a loss to Mahwah for their overall effort. The sting of a tough 15-10 defeat on April 3 continued to hurt over the team’s last several practices.

“The past couple of games we were up and then we relaxed a little bit because we thought we had the game,’’ senior attack Brady Heher said. “We can’t do that. We have to learn that once we get up, we can’t relax or think that the game is over because it’s not.’’

“We were up 4-0 and 6-2 and then we kind of backed off,’’ senior defender Amy Blanchard said. “They were up in the second half and got the momentum back. The last couple of practices going into this game coach (Evan) Mager told us whenever we get at lead, we are not losing it. That’s our goal. We’re never going to do that again. That was in the back of our heads.’’

Morristown High is a young and improving program but at this point their margin for error is slight. They are not a deep team, which is always a concern especially when the weather starts getting warmer like on Monday.

“I never had four or five girls on the side that I was confident that can just go,’’ said Mager, who has been the head coach for three years. “They have to take care of their bodies. We’ve got to condition. I told them it is going to get warm. At the same time they will do anything to play. They want to play and they can be banged up, but they do whatever they can to give me 100 percent.’’

“We rarely ever sub,’’ Blanchard added. “We’ve never had enough depth to do so. This season we have a little more than we had in the past but how we play in practices is we go, go, go because we know that’s how were going to have to be. That’s how we prepare.’’

123 gl morrmc Morristown’s Casey O’Brien fires at Morris Catholic goalkeeper Diamante Soto in first half action on Monday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The freshmen and sophomores are still learning the game on the varsity level. However, many of them played last year and they get better with each game. Sophomore Ally Ferrera has emerged as a scorer and classmate Caroline Hersh leads in assists. And then there’s Siversen, who usually has an edge on the draws.

“She is so tall so if she gets it high enough, she can take it herself,’’ Blanchard said. “If it doesn’t work out we have people on the outside that are more than capable of getting it.’’

A freshman Maddie Finnen has earned a prominent role on the defense, surrounded by seniors Blanchard and Devon DiAntonio and sophomore Lauren Goldhirsh. The defense was especially crucial on Monday because of Morris Catholic’s ability to score in transition.

“We knew that they were a run-and-gun kind of team,’’ Blanchard said. “We knew that if we didn’t slow their transition that they would beat us on legs alone, so we focused on re-defending and getting the ball and getting it once around and placing our shots really well.’’

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Caroline Hersh had three assists and initiates the transition for Morristown. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morris Catholic often rushed shots or took weaker ones after Morristown settled into its defensive positions. A majority of them were long range which gave Langenohl plenty of save opportunities.

“She has come around,’’ Mager said of his goalie. “She is stepping to the ball. She is taking a leadership role.

“I shoot on her for fun sometimes,’’ Mager said. “I shoot at her just as hard as I can outside the 12. I tell her all the time – ‘nobody is shooting past her’.’’

It’s Brady Heher that takes charge when it comes to the attack. An emotional and fiery competitor, she is fearless in going to the cage.

“Brady is an interesting kid,’’ Mager said. “When I first met Brady, she was a sophomore. She was sporadic and all over the place (in her play). She has gotten it together. Not only is she as leader on and off the field. She’s intense. She does not want to lose and she will do whatever she can to make herself better and the people around her better.’’

Heher scored two of the team’s three goals in the final six minutes to make it a 7-3 halftime score. During the break, Mager reminded his players, how much Morris Catholic was going to try to rally and defend their home turf. With the Mahwah loss in the back of their minds, the Colonials pulled away by connecting for three more scores in the first eight minutes. They kept their intensity up the rest of the way for an impressive win. Where the victory will take them is anybody’s guess, but for at least one game the Colonials understood what was needed and executed their orders precisely.

“Now they know they have to play 50 full minutes, 100 percent,’’ Mager said. “They knew if they wanted to keep going, we have to get on the train and go.’’

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Morristown coach Evan Mager implores the Colonials to keep working hard in the second half. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morris County results

Roxbury 12, Randolph 11 – The Gaels rallied from a five-goal deficit to win their third game of the season. Chelsea Artigliere scored twice including the game-winner with 3:54 left in regulation. Joelle Manganella had four goals and three assists and Amanda Beale fired a hat trick for Roxbury (3-1). Rachel Gallipo had six goals and Amanda Dezenzo had a hat trick for the winless Rams.

Villa Walsh 7, Scotch Plains 6 – Taylor Medd scored three goals and Gillian Strandberg and Jess Racanelli also registered for the Vikings (3-1).

Oak Knoll 12, Chatham 7 – The Cougars drop to 2-2. Lauren Maiorano scored four times For Chatham.

Caldwell 17, Madison 9 – The Dodgers drop to 3-1 on the season. The Chiefs are unbeaten at 4-0.

Summit 16, Kinnelon 10 – Heidi Annaheim had six goals and two assists for the Colts.

Mendham 8, Kent Place 5 – The contest was tied 5-5 at halftime. The Minutemen fall to 2-2 on the season.

Mountain Lakes 17, Immaculate Heart 8 – The Lakers start the season at 4-0.

West Essex 16, West Morris 5 – The Knights led 8-2 at the break.

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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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