BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Lindsay Gerrato’s seven goals proved to be too much as Governor Livingston (9-10) edged their bordering rivals in New Providence (12-5), 10-9, in both teams' season finales in front of a packed crowd at Snyder Field in Berkeley Heights under the lights..
Gerrato proved to be just as relentless as ever against Pioneer goalie Sarah Zeto, scoring all six first half goals for GL. The quick goals Gerrato was able to fire past Zeto set the mood for both teams. "When we were up 3-0, the girls really got a confidence boost and knew they could compete with them," said Gov. Livingston head coach Chloe Griffin.
"We came into this game knowing it was going to be a tough one," said Griffin. "New Providence is an amazing team with some really talented players. The girls knew that we could not let up for even one second otherwise we could let the game slip away."
Along with Gerrato's seven game goals and two assists, Jenna Attanasio, Riley Jankowski and Mackenzie Lloyd contributed one goal each.
Gov. Livingston's defense shut down the Pioneers' fast attack. "They were very fast on the crease roll and my senior defenders Paige Collins and Meryl Schaffer were key in shutting those down," said Griffin. "We knew they had a lot of scoring power and had to shut them down. I had two freshmen defenders, Maddy Lopes and Mackenzie Lloyd taking care of Kaitlyn [Cumiskey] and Sam [Scott]. We knew that Kaitlyn could score and cut from anywhere and that Sam was an amazing feeder. If we let them play their game, we would have been overwhelmed. Maddy and Mackenzie are some of my fastest legs and I was hoping they would throw the New Prov players a little out of their head. Their attackers were FAST! My defense was absolutely amazing at shutting down their cutters and slowing down their drives."
In addition, GL goalie Liz Morabito had one of the best games of her high school career with 20 saves. "New Prov has some very talented attack players and let her have it. Liz was coming up with some huge saves and really helped keep up the momentum and keep us in the game," said Griffin. "Her last save with about a minute left in the game happened to be her 300th career save."
Despite the sluggish start, the Pioneers were able to close the half out on a 6-2 run to even up the score at six heading into intermission.
“I think that sometimes the emotions of a game can make you play not as strong or cohesive as you would like,” said New Providence head coach Jennifer Henry. “I think overall they got the best of us and while we made adjustments it just came a little bit too late.”
Governor Livingston did a solid job winning face-offs and controlling the pace in the second half of play, as they were able to never relinquish their lead at any point in the final 25 minutes of play, which ended up proving costly for the Lady Pioneers in the last few minutes of the game.
With 1:19 remaining in the contest, New Providence was able to slash their deficit in half, making the score 10-9 with a chance to tie it on the ensuing face-off.
Despite a faceoff win, an errant shot by New Providence was scooped up by the Lady Highlanders and they were able to run the clock out until the clock struck zero.
"Our message throughout the entire game was settle. Settle the ball, make them settle on defense and settle our play," said Griffin. "The last couple of minutes of the game we had to keep possession. My attack did an amazing job keeping the ball moving and keeping it out of the sticks of the New Prov players."
"We have had some bumps along the road this season and I could not be more proud of my team and how they came out strong and ended out season by defeating our town rival," said Griffin.
Gov. Livingston seniors Liz Morabito, Riley Jankowski and Lindsay Gerrato reflected on the season capping win.
"It felt really awesome [to reach 300 saves]! I reached 200 saves earlier in the season and i was really happy about that, so to end with 300 in my last game, especially it being such a close and exciting game, I was really excited about it. Before the game, I remember seeing that I was 20 away from 300, but I never imagined I could do that, especially against a tough team like New Prov. So at the end of the game when my teammates and coach told me I got to 300 I was really surprised and happy. I've been very fortunate this season to have such good coaches and defense, I don't think I would've been able to do it without them." -Liz Morabito
"New Prov in every sport is always our biggest rival. Knowing that this game would be my last ever sporting game, I knew I had to leave it all out on the field and try as a hard as possible to give it everything I had. Being able to beat New Prov this year was probably my favorite win out of both soccer and lacrosse over my four years of high school. We knew they were going to be really quick and have great cuts and and feeds going to goal and we knew who to shut down to hopefully get the W. Being my last game there was no other way I would of wanted it to end than a 10-9 finish." -Riley Jankowski
"I can't think of a better way to end my high school career. I started my lacrosse career playing with these girls so it was fitting to end my career playing against them. Also, both teams can agree it was an exciting game. Any time we play each other both teams show up 100% and anything can happen. Records mean nothing in games like this and we are proof of that. I have so much respect for those New Prov girls and I had a great time playing against them." -Lindsay Gerrato