Elimination Day: All Morris County teams ousted from tournament play


The lacrosse season has to end sometime but teams in Morris County didn’t expect it to finish so abruptly. On Saturday all four Morris County teams were eliminated from state tournament play. The Mountain Lakes and Mendham girls teams were defeated in Group Finals while boys teams from Mountain Lakes and Chatham ended the season in the opening round of Tournament of Champions play.

Group I final

Oak Knoll 10, Mountain Lakes 9

Morgan Ryan fired a hat trick and Claire Cognassola had two goals and an assist to lift the Group I South Royals (17-5) to victory on the turf at Kean University. Mountain Lakes built a 5-1 advantage in the first 10 minutes of the contest but Oak Knoll rallied with six consecutive goals to take a 7-5 advantage at the half and never relinquished the lead. Kiwi Comizio’s low lefty shot with 10 minutes left provided the eventual game-winning goal at 10-8. With 6:58 remaining in regulation, Megan Ryan connected with a righty shot to the left side to make it 10-9. The Lakers had opportunities to tie and did control the ball for the final 1:10 after a timeout but could not get a quality shot on goal in the remaining time. Maddie Siebold had three goals. Victoria Kalamaras and Ryan scored twice and Allie LaBeau and Meredith Newfrock had one goal each. Afterwards the senior laden squad was reduced to tears although in retrospect they should be proud of their efforts. The Lakers (19-2) finished the season with both Morris County Tournament and a state sectional title.

Group III final

Moorestown, 18, Mendham 11

It was the third consecutive year that the Quakers and Minutemen have met in the Group III final. On all three occasions Moorestown has continued its dominance. Marie McCool had five goals and one assist to pace the 22-0 South Jersey powerhouse on the turf at Kean University. Becky Gohsler had four goals and Gia Padavano fired a hat trick for the Minutemen (15-6). Gohsler and Padavano had early goals to give Mendham leads on 1-0 and 2-1 but Moorestown went on a 5-0 run and eventually took an 8-3 edge at the half. The Minutemen fought hard and kept up on the offensive end, closing to within 13-8 at one point in the second half but it wasn’t enough. Christine Graziano had a goal and an assist and Devon Russell and Mariah Salerno added goals for Mendham.


Tournament of Champions

Rutgers Prep 11, Mountain Lakes 8

The fifth-seeded Lakers received a brilliant performance from attackman Christian Cuccinello but it wasn’t enough to lift them into the Tournament of Champions semifinals at Basilone Field in Bridgewater. Cuccinello had five goals and two assists to spark the Mountain Lakes offense. Mike Sammarro, Chris Sammarro and Spencer Herman also had goals for the Lakers. A long time successful squad in the prep ranks, the Argonauts (19-2) dazzled in their inaugural NJSIAA appearance by rallying from a 6-2 halftime deficit. The fourth-seeded squad advances to play top seed Ridge in the semifinals on Wednesday. Evan Lombardo fired a hat trick, Jack Vajde had two goals and one assist and Elliot Dennis scored twice for Rutgers Prep. “The Fleet’’ went on a four-goal run during the third and fourth quarters. A score from the left side by Rutgers Prep’s Breein Tyree to tie the game 6-all was matched by the Lakers when Sam Walsh, Zander Kotsen and Spencer Herman teamed up on a fast-break goal. Herman’s score made it 7-6 with 10:02 left in regulation. Rutgers Prep responded with three consecutive goals by Tom Smith, Dennis on a crease feed and a transition score by Lombardo on a Dan Stephans pass with 5:10 left to make it 9-7. Cuccinello’s unassisted score, in which he slipped a tight, low shot into the left corner of the net with 3:43 left, gave the Lakers hope and cut the deficit to one goal. However, back-to-back scores cemented the Rutgers Prep win and ended Mountain Lakes’ season at 17-6.

Ridgewood 11, Chatham 6 

There was no magic left for the Group II champs on Bridgewater-Raritans’s Basilone Field turf. The Cougars could not duplicate the stirring comeback they mounted in the Group II title game against Somerville on Wednesday. The Maroons, which also defeated the Cougars last year in the Tournament of Champions, had better face-off play and goalie Noah Pounds to rely on. The senior netminder had 13 saves including several great ones to advance sixth-seeded Ridgewood past third-seeded Chatham. The Maroons will face Don Bosco Prep next. Owen Smith scored four times and Cole Miller fired a hat trick for Ridgewood (13-7). Thomas Guida scored two goals and Christof Strunc and Sam Carson had a goal and an assist for Chatham (19-5). After an opening goal by the Cougars Nick Citron, the Maroons scored six consecutive times to close out the first quarter. Guida scored his first goal on a David Gill feed to start the second quarter but Ridgewood’s Miller matched it to make it 7-2 at halftime. Ridgewood maintained at least a five-goal margin the rest of the way, much to the chagrin of the raucous Chatham fans that gave their heroes a standing ovation at the end despite the tough loss.


About mcvbb

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

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