Versatility helps Mountain Lakes girls repeat as MCT champs

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MONTVILLE — It didn’t happen exactly like they drew it up in practice, but the Mountain Lakes girls lacrosse players showed there is more than one way to win a Morris County Tournament title.

Sophomore Grainger Rosati scored five goals and her classmate goalie Julie Krupnick earned MVP honors in Mountain Lakes 13-6 triumph over Chatham in the Morris County Tournament girls lacrosse finals on Monday.

Jackie Perry scored four times and Rachel Treweeke added a hat trick for the Lakers which successfully defended last years title. Victoria Kalamaras also added a goal and an assist for Mountain Lakes (18-1).

Maddy Bowles and Bridget Ballard scored two goals apiece for third-seeded Chatham (9-8). The Cougars never led, they got as close as 3-2 in the first half before three consecutive Lakers goals made it a 6-2 game at the half.

“It feels great,” Perry said. “We worked so hard and finally, this is it. We were fortunate enough to win last year and since then it has been our goal. Morris County is a really competitive county and there are some really great teams. To come in and play a great game against Chatham was just amazing.”

Mountain Lakes had a dominant tournament, outscoring its opponents Randolph, Montville, West Morris and Chatham by a combined total of 66-18. However, the Lakers won the title game in a different way than they had been accustomed. In many of its wins Mountain Lakes dominates the draws and relies on Perry and the Kalamaras sisters, Victoria and Nicole, to fuel the offense with pinpoint passing and strong drives to the cage.

On Monday, Chatham focused on winning its share of draws and bottled up the Kalamaras’ and sometimes Perry most of the evening. So instead the Lakers found other players to score. When the Cougars did get the draws, the Lakers defense stepped up big time.

“We expected to be busy,”  Krupnick said. “Chatham is a great team and they have a great offense. We did a good job on defense. We made sure that everyone is guarded and forced them to take poor angle shots.”

Mountain Lakes close defense (Bridget Lamb, Alyssa Sebesto, Maddi Harris and Bridget Newfrock) limited Chatham from getting good drives to the cage or creating open scoring opportunities.

“Our defense was outstanding,” Mountain Lakes coach Jen Munday said. “I have to give credit to them. They took Chatham out of their offense a little bit and made them take some shots that we knew Julie could save.”

Munday credits good communication and teamwork among the defenders for making the difference.

“Chatham has a fantastic offense,” Munday said. “For our defenders to hold them to six goals, I am so proud of them.”

Krupnick stopped ten shots on goal, including two close ones early. The Lakers defense succeeded in pushing the Cougars shooters farther out as the game progressed. Krupnick, who is pledged to Northwestern once her high school days are done, had an easier time picking off those later chances.

“She is so dynamic,” Munday said of her keeper. “She’s got energy and she makes saves that you almost shouldn’t make all the time. She has a great sense of anticipation and does a nice job of making saves and clearing the ball.”

When Mountain Lakes had the ball, Chatham focused its defense on silencing its top scorers but it didn’t fluster the Lakers. Rosati, playing in her first county final, and Treweeke, a junior, and occasional offensive contributor, seemed to relish the opportunity to show what they could do.

“They fed me the ball a lot,” Rosati said. “Everyone works well together and we finished well. Not just me but everyone else. No one is selfish on the team and everyone helps each other out.”

Her five-goal output marked the season-high for the sophomore.

“She stepped up ,” Perry said. “She’s really up and coming. She was really aggressive. When I saw the doubles coming I was able to kick it out and she would drive and catch the defense off guard. She really did a great job.”

Treweeke is another player that flashed surprising quickness. Recognized as more of a catch-and-shoot player, she was fearless in going to the cage. She scored back-to-back goals to help spot the Lakers their 6-2 halftime edge.

“When our players come out like this it surprises people but we see them do it in practice all the time,” Perry said. “They are finally putting it together and doing a great job.”

The Lakers led from almost the beginning and gradually pulled away. In the second half, the teams exchanged goals for the first nine minutes. Then Mountain Lakes extended its advantage with a 3-goal burst. Perry converted her fourth goal of the game with a free position score. Her righty shot hit the left corner to make it 9-4 with 15:58 remaining. Rosati put the Lakers into double digits by converting a Victoria Kalamaras feed at 12:42. Four minutes later it was Treweeke who stuck home a Rosati feed to make it 11-4 with 11:40 remaining.

It was more than enough for the Lakers to retain their title. The next step is to build on that momentum going into state tournament play later this week.

“It feels awesome,” Rosati said. “We worked so hard this season and it paid off.”

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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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