BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Lindsay Gerrato tallied seven goals and an assist to lead the No. 5 seed Gov. Livingston Lady HIghlanders to a 13-11 victory over the No. 8 seed Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the first round of the Union County Tournament on Friday in Berkeley Heights.
The back and forth duel went to half at a 6-6 stalemate. Gov. Livingston scored the first five goals of the second half to take an 11-6 lead with 14:01 remaining. The Raiders attempted to make a comeback, but GL held onto the lead and finished off with the 13-11 win. GL's goalie Liz Morabito was put to the test and played her best making key saves, 13 in total, to help her team to advance to the next round of the UCT.
"For a goalie to make 13 saves in a tight game, she was a real game changer for us and a big reason why we won, today she had an absolutely amazing game," said Gov. Livingston head coach Chloe Griffen. "At last game against Scotch Plains, she had her 200th save, it really got her fired up."
The Lady Highlanders improve to 5-3 on the season, while Scotch Plains-Fanwood falls to 3-9.
Leading the way for the Lady Highlanders was Lindsay Gerrato, who netted seven goals with one assist. Skylar Dowling (5 A), Meryl Schaffer (2G), Riley Jankowski (1G, 1 A), Elena Gerrato (1G), Jenna Attanasio (1 G) and Val Diamond (1 G) and Liz Marabito (13 saves) also contributed to GL's effort.
Sabrina DiLollo led SPF with four goals and Amber Bretz chipped in with three goals. Haley Nakonechny and Libby Daniskas shared time in goal recorded four saves.
Erika Papralki scored for the Raiders on the first possession to open the game. GL was denied on their next attempt by a strong SPF defense. After back and forth action, Meryl Schaffer gained possession for GL and broke through the defense with a shot to knot the game, 1-1.
SPF immediately responded from the draw. GL's tight defense tried keeping the Raiders out but Jordyn Wheeler found the hole and scored from in front to take the (2-1) lead.
Lindsay Gerrato did what she does best, after winning the draw she drove through the three on one defense, to fire off a shot to tie the game for the second time.
The game was tied five times in the first half and the lead changed hands on three occasions in this tightly played contest until GL broke out with a five goal run to start the second half.
"We needed this win after our game against Villa Walsh, that was disappointing," said Lindsay Gerrato. "This is exactly how we wanted this game to go, we saw them last week, they gave us a hard time, we came back ready to play." At their last meeting, GL came from behind in the 17-16 victory over this Raider team.
After losing to Villa Walsh, 10-9, earlier in the week, Griffen knew she had work to do -- and held mainly defensive practices. She was very pleased in her team's execution. "Against Villa Walsh, they were punching holes in it [defense] left and right," said Griffen. "We were able to slow down the ball a lot better than in the past. Our defenders and our goalie are a big reason why we won the game."
Griffen also worked on her team's patience with the ball. "The patience on the offense -- when you force it down the goal -- it doesn't work and we get a bad shot off," said Griffen. "They worked on their patience with the ball, we had a lot of pretty plays today because we held the ball."
She credits Dowling for performing well in practice and she brought it to the game with five assists."Four goals that were scored were because she had her head up and looked and got the open girl," said Griffen.
Lindsay Gerrato hopes to take today's win to continue to boost confidence in her young teammates. "With confidence they can do amazing things," she said. "The freshman are starting to get into the groove of things and get more confidence and we are all meshing together," she said.
"Skylar can be one of our best attackers and Mackenzie [Lloyd] is so fast, if we pump her up, she's like a monster," Gerrato added.
GL will face Westfield in the next round of the UCT on Monday in Westfield at 6 p.m.