Ferrara, Morristown eliminate Jefferson in MCT contest

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MORRISTOWN — Wearing a band aid on the bridge of her nose was not the fashion statement that Morristown’s Allie Ferrara wanted to make. However, her efforts in Saturday’s Morris County Tournament game gave the Colonials another good reason to dance at their senior prom.

Ferrara had five goals and two assists to lift Morristown to a 10-7 opening round triumph against Jefferson on the turf at Morristown High.

Casey O’Brien posted a hat trick for the fifth-seeded Colonials. Maddy Heher and Meghan Siverson also connected for Morristown (12-4). The Colonials advance to face West Morris in the quarterfinal round.

Senior center Kara Hodapp scored six times for previously unbeaten Jefferson. Danielle Pini added a goal for the 12th-seeded Falcons (12-1).

The Colonials knew that the Falcons were not an average 12th-seeded team. The contest didn’t seem secure until the final five minutes which were spent in Morristown’s offensive end with the three-goal lead.

 

14 gl mct morjeff  050314Jefferson’s Gina Langanella and Morristown’s Caroline Hersh battle for the ball on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“We knew we all had to have the same mind set,” Ferrara said. “Records mean nothing. We were seeded a little higher but we had the game plan and we executed.”

Ferrara, who will use a little extra make-up to conceal her small injury, said that the Colonials had to make sure their slides were early and their crashes were hard. They also had to keep focus. The distractions of the upcoming dance as well as a little overconfidence in facing a 12th-seeded opponent might spell disaster for a less experienced team. Morristown showed that its players are competing at another level.

“They have prom tonight so they were just happy it was a morning game,” Morristown coach Evan Mager said. “I tried not to talk about the fact that they were playing a 12 seed. Whether your schedule is tough or not, when you are 12-0 you know what you are talking about. You definitely have some kids that can play.”

25 gl mct morjeff  050314Morristown’s Casey O’Brien connects on an early goal for the Colonials. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Jefferson has a trio of players that they rely on for offense. Morristown opted to allow Jefferson’s top scorer Hodapp to provide offense but limited Pini and sophomore Kendra Nolan to a goal between them. They face-guarded Pini with tall, quick Meghan Siverson, who also won her share of faceoffs.

“She’s extremely fast,” Mager said. “She’s going to Louisville with Allie. She’s smart. There are some things she is constantly working on. She’s a fierce player.”

Ferrara was an offensive threat all day, but it might have been a goal she scored just before halftime that made the biggest impact. Ferrara took a ground ball off a deflected shot and connected in the final second of play to give Morristown a 7-4 advantage at the break.

59 gl mct morjeff  050314Allie Ferrara’s buzzer-beating halfime shot gave Morristown an emotional boost. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“That was the momentum that we needed to carry us into the second half,” Ferrara said. “Coming off a buzzer beater gave me the boost of adrenaline I needed. It reminded me why I was here and what we were trying to do.”

A Jefferson yellow card gave Morristown a man-advantage chance with 16 seconds left in the half. Ferrara picked up a loose ball that came after a Jenna Gill shot attempt. She recognized the Jefferson goalie was coming out on her so she faked high to bring her opponent’s stick up and then slipped the ball in the left corner of the net.

“It was amazing,” O’Brien said. “It was a huge momentum changer. The team and the fans, the energy … I think that goal set our momentum for the rest of the game.”

Although there was plenty of time left, the three-goal advantage made it that much tougher for Jefferson to rally. The Falcons were never able to tie or grab a second-half lead.

“It was just smart on her part,” Mager said. “She knew the clock was definitely running down. You have to go to goal at that point. They were a man down. She knew she had to go and that goal definitely pushed us a little bit. We’ve had some trouble in the past either after timeouts or at halftime coming out and lightening up a little bit. (Jefferson) came back but we’ve been in that situation before where we’ve lost games like that. They know that feeling and they don’t want it.”

31 gl mct morjeff  050314Morristown’s Sarah Grace Plott has the ball but Jefferson’s Kendra Nolan is anxious to take it away from her. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Falcons didn’t give up and at one point narrowed the game to 8-7 on a Pini’s lone goal at 13:26. The Colonials responded less than two minutes later on Heher’s tally off a Ferrara feed at 11:52. Ferrara connected again at the 9-minute mark to make it a 3-goal margin.

“Allie is one of the best girls I’ve ever played with,” O’Brien said. “I’ve gotten a lot of assists on passes to her. I know that 99 percent of the time she is going to catch the ball.”

Next, Morristown travels to face West Morris in a game the Colonials are excited about. Many of the seniors remember the 20-6 drubbing they suffered in an MCT game against West Morris in 2012.

“This is huge for us,” Ferrara said. “We are looking to make it to the semifinals for the first time ever. We are a young team and we are all loving this season.”

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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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