CHATHAM, NJ - After two slim victories against Mendham earlier in the season, the Chatham girls lacrosse team ensured the Minutemen wouldn’t be stopping them on their road to the state sectional final. In the state sectional semifinal on Monday afternoon, Chatham defeated Mendham, 12-7, at Haas Field.
The Cougars refused to jeopardize their lead for the full 50 minutes, staying on top from the moment the first goal was scored in the first few minutes of the game. Chatham (13-6) built a 7-1 lead in the first half and pushed its lead to 11-3 after the break.
“When we prepared to play Mendham for the third time, we just channeled all of our energy from our previous wins against them and just came out hard with a high lead from the beginning of the game,” Chatham sophomore Frances Workman said. “We also scouted their players because we knew who they were going to come out with, and we didn’t let anything that did get thrown at us stop us.”
Emilie de Keyzer scored the first goal of the game, and secured Chatham’s victory by ending with three goals and three assists. A number of players took the credit for Chatham’s tenacious offensive performance: Abby Morgan scored one goal and had two assists; Schuyler Bixby scored two goals and had two assists; Grace Coe scored one goal; Catherine McNiff scored three goals and picked up five ground balls, and freshman Lizzie O’Neill scored two goals.
However, Chatham’s strong performance was not limited to their offensive strength. Kat Friday made 11 saves for Chatham, keeping Cougars in the lead despite increasing offensive pressure in the second half from Mendham. Sophomore defender Colleen Graham was also an asset to the team’s defensive performance. Graham was named “The Beast” of the game.
Chatham edged Mendham, 12-11, on April 27 and again, 10-9, on May 4 in the Morris County Tournament semifinal.
“We just finally played our defense,” Graham said. “For a couple of games we had low points. We just wanted it so badly, we want to get a rematch against Summit in the final, and everyone just had so much intensity the whole game so we’re ready for Thursday. We want revenge from last time. They shouldn’t have beat us -- we want it badly.”
Chatham advances to the state sectional final against long-time rival Summit on Thursday afternoon.
“I think for our next round of states against Summit we just need to come out hard,” Workman said. “Knowing that they beat us the first round doesn’t mean anything to us. We’re just going to come out with the same intensity as we did against Mendham and not let them throw anything at us that we can’t handle.”
Abby Morgan connects on an 8-meter attempt for Chatham
Catherine McNiff scores off a pass from Abby Morgan
Freshman Lizzie O'Neill scores one of her two goals for Chatham