MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Chatham field hockey team was as upbeat as a team could be after being eliminated from the Morris County Tournament in the quarterfinal round on Saturday. There were no tears nor sunken shoulders.
Despite a 4-1 loss to top-seeded and undefeated Morristown, the No. 11 ranked team in the state by NJ.com, the Lady Cougars held their heads high in defeat.
"Everyone on this team was so fired up, every cell in our bodies wanted to win this game," Chatham senior goalie Abby Walrond said. "Even though we didn't win, we gave it everything and that's all that matters. This was an insane game from all points of view. Every game going on from here is only going to get better for us. We worked so hard leading up to this game, it can only carry over into our next game."
Morristown (11-0) has won three matchups against the Lady Cougars this season. On the other hand, Chatham (6-3-2) is undefeated against all other teams it has played this year.
The Colonials, who received two goals from Callie Sundin, took a 1-0 lead 9:05 into the first half, but Chatham tied it just 46 seconds later on a drive by Noelle Bessette. Annie Leverich inserted the corner to Bessette up top and the senior midfielder fired a low shot into the cage (see video) to tie it.
A goal by Morristown on the final play of the first half off a corner made it 3-1 at the break.
Walrond was credited with 24 saves, anchoring a Chatham team that showed its grit in playing a high intensity game for 60 minutes.
"I thought they played amazing," Chatham coach Kaitlin Leyden said of her team. "As a team they didn't give up and played their hearts out and that's all we can ask for. We played a team that's ranked No. 11 in the state. The odds were completely against us. We were the underdogs and we had nothing to lose and the girls played like that.
"If we can compete with them, we can compete with whoever is coming up next for us."
Noelle Bessette's shot off a corner was blocked by the Morristown goalie
Chatham puts the pressure on in the first half vs Morristown