CHATHAM, NJ - Each team came in with a game plan for the opposition and West Essex executed their strategy better than Chatham did on Wednesday, scoring a 13-7 girls lacrosse victory at Haas Field.
West Essex (8-3) managed to keep Chatham's top offensive threats, Bridget Ballard, Maddy Bowles and Emily Wingate without a goal while Erica Perrotta scored three goals in the first half to spark West Essex.
"We had a definite game plan going into it and we weren't able to execute it," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "We knew who the top girls were and what they liked to do and we didn't follow the game plan."
Junior Maggie O'Neill, who finished with four goals and an assist for the Lady Cougars, scored two minutes into the action to give Chatham a 1-0 lead. But West Essex kept winning draws and that led to an offensive surge and a 4-1 advantage.
Alex Frenzel scored off a feed from O'Neill to slice the deficit to 4-2 for Chatham. West Essex answered with two goals by Perrotta, one by Rachel Cecere and one tally by Bunny James - with 4.7 seconds left in the half - to take an 8-2 lead into the break.
West Essex boosted its lead to 10-2 early in the second half before O'Neill led Chatham back in it. O'Neill scored consecutive goals in a span of 68 seconds and Morgan Sullivan followed with a goal off a pass from Wingate to make it a 10-5 game. Frenzel's free position goal made it 10-6 with 15:46 to go.
Chatham had the ball with a chance to continue its spree, but a turnover led to Amanda Uliano's goal for West Essex and James followed with a score to raise the cushion to six goals at 12-6.
O'Neill's fourth goal cut it to 12-7 with 5:14 left before Uliano scored the final goal of the game for West Essex.
"O'Neill picked up her game, especially in the second half, winning draws, taking the ball down there and showing confidence with the ball," Renna said.
Frenzel marked Perrotta and held her without a goal in the second half, contributing to the rally Chatham.
Chatham (5-7) was without one of its key players, junior middie Kristen Maiorano, who was sidelined after suffering a concussion in a game against Westfield.
Alex Frenzel scores the first of her two goals for Chatham in video below