Mendham, Mountain Lakes advance to title game

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

ROXBURY — Mendham gained a measure of revenge. Mountain Lakes learned a lesson in intensity. Both girls lacrosse teasm found their way into the Morris County Tournament championship game.

Mariah Salerno fired a hat trick including an important free position goal late in Mendham’s 8-5 triumph over Chatham in the opener of the MCT doubleheader held at Roxbury High School.

In the nightcap, Mountain Lakes’ Jackie Perry scored five goals and made an impact on the draw in a 19-10 victory over Kinnelon. The Colts’ Heidi Annaheim scored five times and also notched her 300th career varsity goal but it wasn’t enough for fifth-seeded Kinnelon.

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Chatham’s Lauren Maiorano leads a group of girls fighting for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Mendham and Mountain Lakes will play in the title game scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Roxbury High. It is the Lakers first appearance in the championship contest since 2009. Mendham has appeared in the contest almost regularly in the last decade.

Last year, Chatham rallied to defeat Mendham 13-12 in the championship contest. It wasn’t quite the same but the triumph certainly seemed sweet for the Minutemen (11-4).

Second-seeded Mendham was ahead from the very beginning. It scored the first five goals including two from Becky Gohsler’s stick to help build a 6-2 halftime advantage.

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Mendham’s Christine Graziano fires the ball past Chatham goalie Hannah Reader. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The third-seeded Cougars (7-8) rallied midway through the second half with goals by Kennedy Krauss and Bridget Ballard cutting the deficit to 7-4 with 16:38.

Mendham bounced back on a free position shot by Salerno, her third goal of the game. Her righty shot hit the lower left corner to make it a 4-goal game at the 9:20 mark. With a sizable margin the Minutemen were able to open the field and play a possession game. Lauren Maiorano, who scored twice, connected with 24 seconds remaining but there was no time left for the Cougars to catch up.

Mountain Lakes vs. Kinnelon

The 14-1 Lakers couldn’t stop Heidi Annaheim from setting a milestone but they were able to turn away the game Colts and advance to the title game. Victoria Kalamaras added five goals and Allie LaBeau and Maddie Siebold fired hat tricks to spark the top-seeded Lakers.

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Mountain Lakes Allie LaBeau seems to have the ball but Kinnelon’s Victoria Babinski is in hot pursuit. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Kinnelon (5-10) kept it interesting for awhile. Annaheim needed four goals to reach her milestone. The leading scorer in the history of Kinnelon girls lacrosse, the Notre Dame-bound athlete made her mark with an unassisted tally with 15:25 left in the first half to tie the contest at 4-4. The Lakers then scored four of the next five goals and took a 9-5 advantage at halftime.

Kinnelon bested Mountain Lakes on draws in the first half to stay into the contest.

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Kinnelon’s Heidi Annaheim scored her 300th career varsity goal but probably would have preferred a victory. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

In the second half, the Lakers switched to Perry in the center of the circle and lifted their intensity. Strong defense by Alexa Wilson also hindered Annaheim, who finished with five goals on the game. As a result Mountain Lakes slowly pulled away, winning nearly every second-half draw and scoring five of the last seven goals in the contest.

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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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