CHATHAM, NJ - There have been times this season when the Chatham girls lacrosse team faced adversity and didn't handle it well.
Madison's charge in the second half tested Chatham's resolve on Monday and this time the Lady Cougars responded with a character-building victory.
Kristen Maiorano, Emily Wingate, Maddy Bowles and Morgan Sullivan came through with big plays down the stretch as Chatham held off Madison, 17-13, at Haas Field.
"When the other team is coming back and scoring goals we have to find it in ourselves to work harder and play better and just go for the goals and go for the win," Bowles said.
Chatham (4-5) played three overtime games last week and lost two of them. So when a 10-3 halftime lead whittled down to a two-goal edge, Chatham was facing another nerve wracking finish.
"It's huge, especially coming off the last week we had," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "Three overtime games and two of them were losses. We needed this game."
Bowles had scored off a feed from Wingate with 1.8 seconds left in the first half, staking Chatham to a 10-3 lead. When Bowles opened the scoring in the second half on a pass from Maiorano it gave the Lady Cougars eight straight goals and an 11-3 advantage.
But Madison began to rally after Chatham was handed a yellow card for a slash. The Dodgers scored four goals while Chatham was down a player because of the penalty, making it an 11-7 game with plenty of time on the clock.
Bridget Ballard (3 goals, 1 assist) then scored off a pass from Bowles (2 goals, 4 assists) to interrupt Madison's run. Chatham goalie Gislina Saul (9 saves) also made a couple big stops to stem the Dodgers' momentum.
Wingate (5 goals, 3 assists) connected for a goal and Sullivan (2 goals) forced an error in Madison's end, picked up the ground ball and scored to make it 14-8 with 10:26 to go.
Another yellow card against Chatham led to another surge by Madison as Catherine Crowley connected to spark a four-goal spurt. Ari Goret's goal with 7:34 showing, sliced the Dodgers' deficit to 14-12.
At that point, the possibility of a fourth straight overtime game was real for the Lady Cougars. That's when Maiorano came up with game-turning ground ball that led to her own goal on a pass from Wingate.
"We had two yellow cards and they were able to gain some momentum," said Maiorano, who ended with three goals and two assists. "I think we did a good job after that. We worked on getting 50-50 balls. We needed a win. I feel our team is definitely stepping up and it will go a long way to setting up a winning streak, hopefully."
Alex Frenzel, who won four draws, then gained possession for Chatham, which resulted in another Maiorano goal (from Bowles) to make it 16-12 with 4:18 to go.
Wingate's charge to the net from the right wing resulted in her fifth goal and a 1712 lead with 2:07 left.
"We have it in us," Wingate said. "We just have to keep executing the way we did today. We definitely prepared well for this."
Molly Fishter had four goals and Sophie Smith netted three to pace Madison.
Maddy Bowles scores against Madison in video below
Kristen Maiorano goes to goal for Chatham in video below