BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston girls lacrosse team honored and celebrated their seniors Julia Pencek, Yilly Wu, Laura Nicholson, Georgia Pardales, Karime Diaz and Erica Frezza and their families in a ceremony prior to battling it out against Pope John in a disappointing 17-13 loss on Saturday.
The 8-5 Lady Highlanders opened the game with Pencek leading the charge with a drive to the net for the first goal of this high scoring game.
Referee calls did not go in GL's favor in this close battle, ultimately taking sophomore defender Julia Gilpin out with two yellow card penalties. With a void in the defensive wall, freshman Meryl Schaffer stepped it up to be a force to get through.
The teams traded goals in the first half, Pope John led by one, 7-6, going into the second half.
The play continued head to head until Pope John shot four quick goals to widen the score,16-11.
Lindsay Gerrato scored her third game goal from a free pass by Stephanie Dowling to chip away at Pope John's lead.
Time was elapsing and the Lady Highlanders continued to be plagued with late game penalties allowing Pope John their final score with 37 seconds left to end the game with a 17-13 victory.
Julia Martin led the Lady Highlanders with six goals and one assist and Kateri Brooks scored a game high seven goals and one assist to lead Pope John in the win.
Gov. Livingston Box Score: Erica Frezza - 2 goals; Julia Pencek - 1 goal, Georgia Pardales - 1 assist, Julia Martin - 6 Goals, 1 assist; Lindsay Gerrato - 3 goals; Stephanie Dowling - 1 goal, 2 assists; Erin Hannaford - 2 assists.
Goalie Laura Nicholson had 11 saves on goal.
Gov. Livingston will be back in action away at Warren Hills, Monday, April 28 at 4:30 p.m.
About the seniors:
Pencek, known for her hustle, started playing lacrosse her freshman year and has played attack, midfield and defense. She will be attending Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.
Yu has played lacrosse for five years and will be attending University of Miami in the fall.
Nicholson has been playing lacrosse for seven years. She finished up last season starting for the injured varsity goalie and has been "a brick wall for us all season," said Coach Nicole Testa. Nicholson will be attending Rutgers University in the fall pursuing a dual-major in marine biology and pre-dental.
Pardales has been playing lacrosse for four years. She has played defense, midfield and has settled into attack this season. Pardales will attend Montclair State University majoring in Athletic Training.
Diaz has been playing lacrosse for four years and has become passionate about the sport. She is a "mainstay" in the Highlander defense. Diaz will play lacrosse for Kean University. She plans to major in Public Relations. "There will be obstacles, there will be doubters, there will be mistakes -- but with hard work, there are no limits," said Diaz.
Frezza has been playing lacrosse for seven years. She has been a consistent force on attack with 26 goals. Frezza is 9 goals from reaching 100 high school career goals. She will attend Penn State in the fall for Speech Language Pathology. She plans to play club lacrosse and possibly walk on for varsity team in the future.
Photo credits: Gov. Livingston Girls Lacrosse and Brian Gilpin