MONTVILLE, NJ - Bridget Ballard scored her 100th career goal in the second half, but had to work overtime to earn her 101st, a goal that gave the Chatham girls lacrosse team the Morris County Tournament Championship on Saturday at Montville High.
The junior midfielder thought she had scored the game-winning goal with five seconds left in regulation, but it was whistled a no goal, forcing the overtime. That didn't deter Ballard, who scored with 28 seconds left in the second overtime to win it, 7-6, over Mountain Lakes.
"It was like we got two wins tonight," Ballard said. "I got pushed from the back (on the goal waved off). It's fine, we still won. It feels great, especially after what happened last year (a loss to Mountain Lakes in the final). It's great to get revenge. An incredible feeling."
Ballard, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the MCT, earned a souvenir ball when she scored with 16:42 left in the second half for her 100th career goal. The referees switched out the ball from the game as a keepsake for Ballard. Ironically, it was a historic goal she never saw go into the net.
Zoe Kraus had hit Ballard cutting to the net and two Mountain Lakes players nearly hit her in the head with their sticks. As Ballard ducked, the ball shot out of her stick and sailed into the net for a 6-4 lead.
Bridget Ballard scores 100th goal of her career in MCT championship game
"I had no idea it went in," Ballard said. "I saw everyone cheering and running up to me."
Mountain Lakes (9-9) came back with two straight goals to tie the game at 6-6, the second on a goal by Rachel Treweeke with 3:34 to go. Still, Chatham (10-6) could have won it in regulation. The Lady Cougars took possession with 23 seconds left and Ballard drove to the net and scored, but she was called for a charge on the play.
"We just knew we had to step it up a little more," Ballard said. "We wanted it so bad."
In the first of two 3-minute overtimes, Chatham goalie Gislina Saul made a big save and Chatham had a chance to take the lead on the very last play of the first extra session when Kristen Maiorano fed Alex Frenzel, whose shot on goal was deflected away by Lakers goalie Julie Krupnick.
In the second overtime, Mountain Lakes maintained possession into the third minute before Chatham senior defender Julia DiSalvio caused a turnover and grabbed the ground ball. That led to the winning goal by Ballard with 28 seconds left.
"That was the best ground ball I've ever gotten in 10 years of playing lacrosse," DiSalvio said. "I was really excited and really glad Bridget could take it in and get that goal. It was just a great feeling. We wanted to get our name on the banner in the gym. I can still hear them screaming after (Mountain Lakes) won last year."
Chatham last won the MCT title in 2012 and the Lakers had won the last two championships.
"It's a dream come true, especially to win against Mountain Lakes," Saul said. "This was our year. I'm so proud of everyone. It was adrenaline, it was emotions, it was everything. I knew that everyone had to step it up and we did. I'm just so proud of everyone."
Chatham had defeated Mountain Lakes in the season opener, 11-10, on March 25. This matchup was a lot tighter defensively.
"I knew we were going to win," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "I told them to play for 50 minutes and to remember what we've been working for every day in practice and bring it to the game today.
"Our defense played the best it has played all season. They came together today. Gizzy played outstanding."
Ballard finished with three goals, Kraus had two goals and an assist and Emily Wingate and Maggie O'Neill contributed a goal apiece. Abby Morgan was credited with an assist.
"We've been waiting since the beginning of the season to make this come true," O'Neill said. "It's the best part of the season so far."
Bridget Ballard's goal with five seconds left in regulation was called off for a charge