Mountain Lakes girls earn MCT top spot

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MONTVILLE – Unbeaten Mountain Lakes earned the No. 1 spot at the Morris County Girls Lacrosse Tournament seeding meeting on Thursday at Montville High School.

Mendham was seeded second, defending MCT champion Chatham was chosen third and West Morris took the fourth seed while Kinnelon, Morris Knolls, Madison and Villa Walsh completed the top eight seeds for the tournament rankings.

Preliminary round MCT games start on or by Thursday, May 2, followed by first round games on or by Saturday, May 4 and quarterfinal games on or by Tuesday, May 7. The semifinal round contests are scheduled for Thursday, May 9 with contests at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Roxbury High School. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday May 11 in a 7 p.m. contest scheduled to be played on the turf at Roxbury.

It’s been a few years since Mountain Lakes had gained No. 1 honors. Teams from Mendham and Chatham have had a stranglehold on the top spot in recent times. Jackie Perry, Victoria Kalamaras, Maddie Siebold, Olivia Fernandez and Allie LaBeau are among the many players that have contributed to their success.

“The kids are playing hard,’’ Mountain Lakes coach Jen Munday said. “We’ve had a good season so far, so it’s nice to see us being recognized as one of the top teams in the county.’’

Munday was honored at the selection but wasn’t quite sure whether gaining the top spot would be a burden or a blessing to the team during their title run.

“I think we are trying to take it one game at a time,’’ Munday said. “Hopefully we end up in that championship game so it is a challenge to continue to survive and advance.’’

The Lakers have been outstanding so far. Munday believes that it helps that her team is a senior group and are mature enough to handle their success.

“It’s been a great year because of the leadership of the seniors and the juniors,’’ Munday said. “We are very upper-classmen heavy. They play very well together because they know it is their last shot.’’

Despite sporting some unusual records, there are a number of teams capable of pulling a surprise or two in the tournament. West Morris (3-8), Kinnelon (1-8) and Morris Knolls (1-9) have losing records but were ranked among the top teams because of their strength of schedule. Consequently teams like Morristown (7-2), Roxbury (7-3) and Jefferson (11-0) earned seeds of 10, 11 and 14 respectively because of the quality of the teams they have faced. Munday believes regardless of ranking, teams have to be on their guard during tournament play.

“On any day, any team can beat another team,’’ Munday said. “It depends upon who wants it more and who plays harder. The mentality is that you have to come in and play hard because you know every game is going to be a battle.

“The competition in the county is very strong. It has always been very strong. Everybody can play. The game of lacrosse has increased in terms of the talent level. It’s an open field I think.’’

MCT champions have often used that winning momentum to make strong state tournament runs. Last year Chatham was crowned MCT champion with a 13-12 victory over Mendham in the title game. The Cougars eventually made it to the state final.

2013 Morris County Girls Lacrosse Tournament

Winner of No. 17 Morris Hills (4-5) at No. 16 Mount Olive (3-7) at No. 1 Mountain Lakes (10-0).

No. 9 Montville (7-3) plays at No. 8 Villa Walsh (9-2).

Winner of No. 20 Boonton (4-5) and No. 13 Morris Catholic (5-6) plays at No. 4 West Morris (3-8).

Winner of No. 21 Park Regional (3-6) at No 12 Pequannock (4-6) plays at No. 5 Kinnelon (1-8).

Lower Bracket

Winner of No. 18 Morristown-Beard (8-3) at No. 15 Randolph (2-7) plays at No. 2 Mendham (8-3).

No. 10 Morristown (7-2) plays at No. 7 Madison (9-2).

No. 11 Roxbury (7-3) plays at No. 6 Morris Knolls (1-9).

Winner of No. 19 St. Elizabeth (4-6) at No. 14 Jefferson (11-0) plays at No. 3 Chatham (4-6).

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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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