LIVINGSTON, NJ -- Ridge blitzed Livingston for 14 goals in the first half and went on to a 19-7 girls lacrosse victory in the semifinal round of the Section 1, Group 4 state tournament on Tuesday.
Junior midfielder Taylor Smith scored seven goals and Grace Kirkwood connected for six goals while doling out three assists for Ridge (14-4), which led, 14-3, at halftime. Smith now has 74 goals this season.
Emily Gaffney and Kelly O'Connor each scored three goals and O'Connor added an assist for Livingston (12-6). Emma Zuckerman added one goal and one assist for the Lancers. Isabella Freschi and Elizabeth Chow each had an assist and Drew Nathan came through with two assists.
Ridge outdrew Livingston, 16-11. But Ridge coach MJ Hollingsworth had praise for his opponents.
"Livingston is a program with a lot of great athletes," Hollingsworth said. "They are always a tough opponent."
Although Livingston fell short of a berth in the section final against Ridgewood, Lancers' head coach Jodi Mensch reflected on a strong overall season that included an unbeaten record in the Independence Conference and a 6-1 mark in the NJIGLL.
Mensch pointed out that for all the noteworthy and headline-making contributions made this season by high scorers Gaffney (61 goals) and O'Connor (63 goals), who combined for 124 goals and 59 assists this season, there were many others who had a hand in the team's 12 victories as well as in some of its hard-fought losses.
"Defensive standouts all season have been Kelsey Homberg, Sarah Cullen, Abby Stephenson, Samantha Orciuoli, Chloe Testa, Aliza Gelman, Sami Weber and Erin O'Donnell," Mensch said. "Some offensive players, in addition to Gaffney, O'Connor, Zuckerman, Freschi, Chow and Nathan, contributing to a great season for us were Leah Silvestri, Avery Conklin, Hayley Locke, Caitlin Huang, Morgan Levy and Carsyn Balter."
Mensch had praise for the work of both Skyler Alpert and Flora Xia in goal for the Lancers. The coach also pointed out how tough it will be to replace this year's 12th-graders.
"(We) lose eight seniors in the program who have been instrumental to our success this year," Mensch said.