MADISON, NJ – In a game that showcased plenty of offensive talent from both squads, it was the Madison Lady Dodgers who came out on top. Attack Ali Jago led her team with six goals, as she surpassed the 50 goal mark this season, to help her team defeat the Governor Livingston Lady Highlanders 21-11 on Monday afternoon at Madison High School.
Eight different scorers found the back of the net for Madison as they were able to put in eight balls in the first half and 13 more in the second half to match their highest goal total of the season.
“It was good. Our team really picked it up in the second half,” Hugo said. “We focused on challenging hard and scored a lot more in the second half. We didn’t really want to give them (Governor Livingston) a chance,” she added.
They certainly needed a strong showing in the second as Governor Livingston put together a strong offensive performance themselves through 50 minutes. Steered by Stephanie Pinto, who led all scorers in the contest with seven, they were able to tie the game at one a piece at the beginning of the game and draw to within two just seven seconds into the second half.
The Governor Livingston defense, however, had no answer for the likes of Jugo, Brynn Taylor, who netted four goals, and the rest of the Madison attack as the home team pulled away in the second half by scoring the final six goals of the game to get the eventual win.
“It’s showing that we can score. Just brining the awareness of what they needed to do helped them a little bit,” Madison Head Coach Amanda Counts commented.
“One of the best things about this team is the depth. A lot of people can score, switch positions; we have a lot of utility players that we can switch around to fill in any gaps that we have,” she added.
Another asset that Madison had on Monday afternoon was the ability to control face-offs and ground balls. Most lacrosse coaches will tell you that 50/50 balls are they key to winning a game and Madison proved that adage true by winning 23 of 34 draws and outdueling the opposition in groundballs; 36 to 16.
For Hugo, it was a special afternoon for the junior who now has 52 goals in her second season as a varsity lacrosse player. The number is a vast improvement from last year’s 17 goal total as she has averaged more than five goals over the past seven games.
Her 50th came after a Madison groundball off a Governor Livingston turnover got the offense in transition early in the second half. Hugo raced to the center slot and buried a shot past goaltender Alex Grossman that, at the time, have her squad a 9-6 edge.
“I just picked it up and it’s been going. Coach (Counts) said low attack should be averaging three to five goals a game. It’s just luck of the draw. It’s good to get them though,” Hugo told the Alternative Press of surpassing the 50 goal mark; a feat she accomplished in just 13 games.
Pinto netted her sixth tally with 21:31 left in the second half to bring Governor Livingston within three at 10-7. She would score one more time with 9:16 to go in the game to give her team some life when they trailed 15-11.
From there on out the Madison offense took over by scoring six times in just over a four minute span to all but the game away. Michelle Montagna scored twice during that stretch and Hugo, Taylor, Sophie Smith and Ameli Murcott also converted for Madison in the waning minutes.
Montagna scored the first goal of the game for Madison less than a minute in only to be matched by Pinto’s goal at the 3:06 mark to knot things up at 1-1.
Madison had built a five goal lead with 4:38 left until halftime off of Taylor’s tally, but then Pinto scored the last two goals of the first half as Governor Livingston was behind by just three at 8-5 heading into the second half.
“(Pinto) was quick and she had a fast first step. We were trying to get our girls to meet her a little higher and put the pressure on sooner than later,” Coach Counts said of the Governor Livingston star who leads her team in goals this year.
Madison is now 9-4 on their season and will next travel to play Montclair High School Wednesday (tomorrow) at 4 p.m.
Governor Livingston drops to 4-9 and will look to rebound when they play host to Scotch Plains High School Wednesday (tomorrow) at 4 p.m.