Second-half adjustments help West Morris girls outlast Kinnelon

By Mark Kitchin


WASHINGTON TWP. (Morris) — Victories for West Morris girls lacrosse have come few and far apart this year, so when the opportunity arose to earn a triumph against Kinnelon, the Wolfpack wasn’t going to let their chance pass without acting upon it.

Junior center/midfielder Sydney Sapir scored six goals and had two assists to lift West Morris to a 15-11 triumph over Kinnelon on Wednesday.

Amy Moore and Paige Burton added hat tricks for the Wolfpack. Chelsea Orban had three assists and also did strong work on the draw for West Morris (3-8).

Senior midfielder Heidi Annaheim scored six goals for the Colts. Nicole Belanger and Ashley Bobinski added two goals apiece for Kinnelon (1-8)

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West Morris’ Sydney Sapir scored six goals to fuel her team’s offense. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“I’m so happy,’’ Sapir said. “I think we really needed this. We have a really tough schedule ahead of us. We needed to gain some confidence to move forward.’’

Despite their records, West Morris and Kinnelon are talented teams. This year they are the victims of a demanding division schedules which has them playing some of the highest ranking teams in the state. Unaccustomed to losing, both squads were hungry for a victory which made the contest competitive and physical.

West Morris went into halftime with a 7-6 margin, after letting a 6-1 advantage dwindle away. However, the Wolfpack had two advantages. First, they knew they could do a better job of hampering Kinnelon’s outstanding midfielder and University of Notre Dame-bound scorer Heidi Annaheim. The job of slowing her down came to sophomore defense wing Tory Leyson.

“She was fast, aggressive and small like me,’’ Leyson said. “As long as I stayed stick to stick with her I knew I could stop her. I didn’t even look at the ball I was looking at her the whole time.’’

Leyson was quick enough to stay with the speedy Annaheim and small enough to maneuver through the intricate series of picks that the Colts set for Annaheim to get open. They also had to be watchful for Belanger since the two Kinnelon seniors improvise well in the field.

“She had two goals (early) in the second half but one was off an 8-meter and the other off a draw,’’ West Morris coach Rob Herman said of Annaheim. “She (Leyson) kept her from handling the ball and she didn’t have a lot of touches in the second half. That was the biggest thing.’’

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Paige Burton scored two of her three goals in the first half to give the Wolfpack an early lead. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The second was the Wolfpack had an advantage on the face-off with the length and hard work of Orban, who captured many draw controls on her own.

“She’s so athletic and she’s so tall and so fast,’’ Sapir said. “In practice going against her (on the draw) is so difficult and frustrating. She’s so good at it. She’s an all-around really good player.’’

West Morris possessions also meant keeping the ball away from Kinnelon’s attack.

“At halftime we reminded them that the draw control was huge,’’ Herman said. “The final score was exactly the same as the draw control margin. That’s the key to controlling the offense and keeping the ball out of Annaheim’s hands.’’

The contest was tied 9-9 with 19:34 remaining when West Morris went on a two-minute, three-goal stretch which was pivotal.

Moore’s draw control led to a Sapir goal with 19:17 left to make it 10-9. Moore would score herself about a minute later off a Maggie Maroney feed to make it a two-goal game.

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West Morris’ sophomore goalie Renee Gonzalez keeps the ball away from two Kinnelon defenders. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“She was injured in the beginning of the season (concussion symptoms), so it is really nice to have her back,’’ Sapir said of Moore.

Kinnelon got the ball back on the draw due to a procedure penalty but West Morris keeper Renee Gonzalez made a great save on a point-blank Annaheim shot. The Wolfpack worked the ball into its offensive end. Maroney passed up a crowded free position opportunity and West Morris worked the ball around, eventually finding Becca Rieg for a goal and a 12-9 edge at 17:09.

“She’s good at crease rolling,’’ Sapir said of her senior teammate. “She is so aggressive at going to the goal that you really can’t stop her. If I was a defender, I would be nervous guarding her.’’

It was too much for the Colts to overcome. The Wolfpack scored two of the next three goals. Once West Morris built its lead it was able to spread the field and use the clock to its advantage. The result was a much-needed confidence-boosting triumph for West Morris.

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Despite registering a six-goal game, open scoring opportunities were rare for Kinnelon’s Heidi Annaheim. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morris County results

Mountain Lakes 16, Morris Knolls 6

Maddie Siebold and Jackie Perry fired hat tricks for the unbeaten Lakers. Victoria Kalamaras also added a hat trick and Olivia Fernandez and Allie LaBeau scored two goals apiece for Mountain Lakes (10-0). Jaime Chapman and Haleigh Schroth registered two goals apiece for the Golden Eagles.

Roxbury 9, Morris Catholic 8

Chelsea Artigliere’s goal with 7:55 remaining proved to be the game-winner for the Gaels. Joelle Manganella had four goals and two assists and Jaime Kendelski scored twice for Roxbury (7-3). Morris Catholic dropped to 5-6. Tina Nassany fired a hat trick and Amanda Migoya and Taylor Shannahan notched two goals apiece.

Madison 18, Montclair Kimberley 11

The Dodgers took a 10-4 halftime advantage. Molly Fishter and Michelle Montagne scored four goals each and Ali Goret had a hat trick for Madison (9-2).

Pequannock 17, Randolph 5

Jess Rigoglioso had seven goals and one assist and Alyssa Tachon scored five times for the Golden Panthers. Christine Richard added four goals for Pequannock. Natalie Panvini scored twice for the Rams.

Mendham 16, Glen Ridge 2

The Minutemen took a commanding 10-0 lead at the half. Becky Gohsler and Gia Padavino had four goals each. Devon Russell posted a hat trick for the Minutemen (8-3).

Northern Highlands 10, Montville 7

Abby Haimson and Carly DeNigris registered hat tricks for the Mustangs (7-3).

Summit 13, Chatham 3

Maddy Bowles, Lauren Maiorano and Bridget Ballard connected for the Cougars (4-6).

Villa Walsh 14, Union Catholic 8

Christina Pallitto scored six goals and Taylor Medd added five goals in the Vikings’ romp. Villa Walsh is 9-2.


About mcvbb

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

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