CHATHAM, NJ - Alex Frenzel waited practically the whole game to take a shot, but it was worth the wait for the Chatham girls lacrosse team.
Frenzel bounced in her first attempt of the game and it landed in the net with 4.7 seconds left to give Chatham a thrilling 10-9 victory over Madison in the quarterfinal round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 tournament on Monday at Haas Field.
"I looked at the clock right before I took it, which is something you don't think someone would do," Frenzel, a sophomore said. "I really did look at it and I said "there are five seconds left and I need to shoot.' I kind of whipped it at the goal and I was really happy it went in."
The goal by Frenzel set up a second meeting with top-seeded Summit, a team that beat Chatham, 18-6, on March 28. Chatham (11-8) will travel to meet Summit in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday.
Madison (10-6) trailed for the majority of the game, but made its upset bid when Ari Goret scored to tie it at 8-8 with 5:27 left and then scored again to make it 9-8 with 4:15 showing. Emily Wingate's goal tied it for Chatham with 1:43 left.
Madison had the ball and a chance to possibly put the game away before Nicole Weaving picked up a crucial ground ball that gave Chatham possession with 53.8 seconds left. The Lady Cougars worked the ball for the final shot, but Madison's defense held and forced a loose ball. Frenzel picked up the ball, looked at the clock and let it fly.
"I had it, but, unfortunately, I let it in," Madison's sophomore goalie Emilie Flamme said. "It was in my stick originally and it popped out and I actually chucked it into the goal. What hurts the most is that I wanted to give something to the seniors. I have a problem with popping out. I'm a club field hockey goalie so everything is working off of that. "
Flamme had been inserted into the game by Madison coach Meg McKeon on a hunch and the goalie played great in helping the Dodgers rally from a 3-0 deficit.
"We decided to change it up and she played well so we kept her in," McKeon said. "We wanted to say in a high pressure defense and keep the intensity high."
Morgan Sullivan scores for Chatham in first half against Madison in video below
Morgan Sullivan, who had three goals, had opened the scoring when she cut to the cage and put away a pass from Maddy Bowles (2 goals, 1 assist). Bowles then scored off a pass from freshman Abby Morgan.
Chatham appeared ready to run away with the game when Bowles came back to clear the ball and passed it forward to Morgan, who then fed Sullivan for a 3-0 lead.
That's when Flamme stepped in and helped slow Chatham down.
"They put me in and I was just ready to go," Flamme said.
Sophie Smith scored two straight goals for the Dodgers and Michelle Montagna connected to tie it at 3-3 for Madison. Bowles scored off a Wingate feed to regain the lead for Chatham before Smith made it a hat trick and a 4-4 game.
Maggie O'Neill then scored the first of her three goals with 1:13 left to give Chatham a 5-4 edge at the break.
In the second half, O'Neill's third goal staked Chatham to an 8-6 edge. Montagna's goal for Madison then preceded the two big goals by Goret that put Chatham on the brink.
Luckily for the Lady Cougars, Frenzel was patiently waiting for her chance to shoot.
"I don't shoot as much as everyone on the team," Frenzel said. "I usually look for my opportunities."
With offensive starters Bridget Ballard and Kristen Maiorano out with injuries, Chatham received contributions from its youngers players such as Morgan, Weaving and Libby Gallagher, a sophomore who played defense.
"We're missing quite a few kids," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "That gave an opportunity for other kids to step up. The fact that we have had so many injuries it has given people a chance to step up who wouldn't have gotten into the game or played a role that they played today. Instead of being scared that we were missing people, they rose to the occasion and really stepped it up."