BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Highlanders girls lacrosse team got a much-needed 16-8 victory over the Millburn Millers on Saturday morning. The win snapped a five-game losing streak as the team improved to 7-10 in the process.
Senior Lindsay Gerrato scored a game-high eight goals to go along with a game-high two assists. Fellow seniors Riley Jankwoski and Meryl Schaffer chipped in with two goals apiece. Val Diamond, Jenna Attanasio,Skylar Dowling and Elena Gerrato each added one.
“It was a good win and the girls really needed this one because we’ve had quite a few losses in the last few weeks,” Governor Livingston head coach Chloe Griffen said. “As we get set to play a good team like New Providence on Tuesday, we needed a confidence booster like this.”
The Highlanders showed great balance from the start in jumping out to an early 4-0 lead while not allowing a single Millburn goal in the game’s first eleven minutes. When the Millers finally did score, Gerrato countered with a goal of her own just 24 seconds later to give her team a 5-2 lead. Freshman Val Diamond followed up Gerrato’s goal a short time later to once again give Governor Livingston a four-goal advantage.
Governor Livingston was in complete control of the contest, especially on the defensive end. The Highlanders forced several Millburn turnovers in the first half as the Millers struggled to adjust to the Highlanders’ tenacity.
“Our defense had to rein it in today,” Griffen said. “The girls worked very hard on defense and they caused a lot of turnovers.”
The Highlanders did allow a few Millburn goals at the end of the half, but there was little doubt as to which team was playing better on both ends combined.
“Coming into the game, we just knew it was our game,” Schaffer said. “We were passing well, we were seeing each other more, and we were working on not playing an individual game and playing as a team instead.”
Even though the Highlanders took a 7-4 lead into the half, Gerrato said the halftime message centered on finishing strong and brushing up on the little things.
“We did a lot of talking at halftime about having to win this game by being composed on attack,” Gerrato said. “We were getting all over the place at times. We thought we had the game won and started going down a bad path. But once we started hitting each other and moving the ball in the second half, everything started going well.”
The Highlanders really hit their stride offensively in the second half and found that second gear. With just over eleven minutes left to play, the Highlanders had a game-high five-goal lead and extended that lead to seven with 15 second remaining when Gerrato scored off a Jankowski feed.
Lindsay’s younger sister Elena capped the scoring surge when the sophomore maneuvered her way around for a shot with four seconds remaining.
The Highlanders will close the regular season on Tuesday against New Providence. And if today’s win is any indication, the rival Pioneers are in for a tough match.
“I am going to tell the girls not to overthink things,” Griffen said. “If we can settle down and play our game, we will give New Providence a run for their money. Because of the neighborhood rivalry, our girls will really bring their ‘A’ game.”
Next, the Lady Highlanders will celebrate their seniors at home on Monday against South Plainfield with senior ceremony prior to the 5:30 p.m. start. Tuesday's game against New Providence will be played at Snyder Avenue Park at 7 p.m.