Mountain Lakes counts on everyone to win MCT

By Mark Kitchin

CHATHAM – No one person can win a team championship. Victorious squads have to rely on everybody to get the job done. Fortunately for Mountain Lakes, everyone did.

Equal measures of offense, defense and success on the draw provided the difference in Mountain Lakes’ 6-4 triumph over Mendham in Tuesday afternoon’s Morris County Tournament Girls Lacrosse final on the turf at Haas Field in Chatham.

Allie LaBeau scored two goals and Jackie Perry, Maddie Siebold, Megan Ryan and Olivia Fernandez scored one goal apiece for the top-seeded Lakers (14-1). Senior goalkeeper Sarah Allison was named MVP of the tournament and set the tone with three first-half saves.

Christine Graziano scored twice and Devon Russell and Mariah Salerno each connected for second-seeded Mendham (11-4).

It was Mountain Lakes’ third MCT girls lacrosse title ever and first appearance in the championship game since 2009. Their title victories came in 2003 and 2004, both against Mendham.

186a mctfinalsMountain Lakes’ Sarah Bozzo, Megan Ryan and Sara Allison lift the hardware for all to see. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“It feels great,’’ Perry said. “It was a lot of hard work. It didn’t come easy. We’re very happy with the win. They are a great team and they are very difficult to beat twice. We really pulled it out. We were so motivated and so excited.’’

“We knew that this was what we had to do,’’ defender Sarah Bozzo said. “We knew that we wanted to beat them. We knew that Mendham was a great team. Being a champion against them, nothing can stop you. I am so excited. I am so happy.’’

Mountain Lakes defeated Mendham 12-5 on April 4 but they knew the Minutemen had won nine of their last ten games and were determined to capture a title after last year’s rough late game loss against Chatham.

It took the work of all the players not just a few for the Lakers to secure the win.

“Everybody stepped up,’’ Mountain Lakes Coach Jen Munday said. “Everybody wanted the feeling of success. They really worked hard. Everybody plays a role, even the kids that are on the sidelines. We came together and everyone contributed.’’

The Lakers focus had been defense and especially tightening up their second slides, the situation that occurs when an offensive player finds an opening to the goal and a defensive support player has to move in to close up that space before they can get off a good shot or draw a foul.

37a mctfinalsMountain Lakes’ Olivia Fernandez makes a move to the cage early in the game. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“In the second half of the season we were kind of lacking on the second slide,’’ Bozzo said. “We’ve been practicing every day with a new drill that the coach has introduced. Then someone is in the middle to crash right in and then come back out to shut them down.’’

Lakers defenders Alexa Wilson, Bridget Lamb, Bridget Newfrock, Alyssa Sebesto, Peyton Annese and many others weren’t focused on shutting down any one Mendham scoring threat, it was technically sound, rock solid defensive play and support they were after.

“They have a bunch of great attackers. Becky Gohsler, Devon Russell and Mariah Salerno were the top three we were looking for,’’ Allison said. “We were concerned with the second slide and then crashing in when they were in the middle of the eight (meter). That was the big focus.’’

Allison, a senior netminder, who shares time with talented Mountain Lakes’ freshman Julie Krupnick, put in a solid first half and set the tone with some good saves and alert play.

“I was just so pumped up that nothing could bring me down,’’ Allison said. “I heard Sarah (Bozzo) yelling at me all the time, ‘great job, great job’. I knew we were going to win. I knew that we had it in us and that nothing could stop us.’’

93a mctfinalsMountain Lakes’ Maddie Siebold scored a goal and was important in draw controls. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

It was a close contest. The game was tied 2-2 at the half and the teams exchanged goals in the first five minutes of the second half.

Maddie Siebold’s score with 20:56 left in the half, tied the game at 3-3 and started a four-goal run fueled by a few draws that Perry came in to direct. As always, winning the face-offs makes a difference especially in a close contest. Siebold was also critical in capturing some of those draw controls.

“We just got in there,’’ LaBeau said. “We were really aggressive. That was one of our main focus points and we did a good job with it.’’

A pass to Ryan from Jackie Perry created a free position shot that Ryan hit with 17:57 left to break the deadlock. Six minutes later, LaBeau scored her second goal of the game on a free position. A pass from Ryan helped create the foul that set up the shot.

“Megan and I have that connection,’’ LaBeau said. “We did that a lot this season. It’s really important. It shows our teamwork and how we can find each other and count on each other to get those big plays in.’’

148a mctfinalsThe happy Lakers celebrate a job well done after winning the Morris County Tournament title. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Her righty shot hit the left side of the net at 11:55 for the eventual game winner and a 5-3 score. Fernandez provided some insurance with a righty shot into the left side of the net with 5:18 to make it 6-3.

Taking the lead was extremely important since Mendham has been strong at getting ahead of teams, then gaining possession and spreading the field to either run out the clock or get easy scoring opportunities in order to cement their victories.

The Lakers held on from there to take the title although Graziano made it a two-goal game when she scored with 1:03 left to give the Minutemen a brief lift. It wasn’t enough. Mountain Lakes earned the honor and became queens of Morris County lacrosse.

“It means a lot for us to represent the program and our entire town,’’ Allison said. “Everyone in town told us ‘good luck tonight or practice hard for the counties’. We wanted to just represent and make a statement, especially going into states.’’


About mcvbb

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

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: