SUMMIT, NJ - The Chatham girls lacrosse team is on the road to victory, and they plan to ride that road for as long as they can.
Senior Frances Workman capped the upset victory with her goal (see video below) in the closing seconds of overtime as the No. 4 seeded Chatham beat No. 1 seeded Summit 11-10 on Monday in the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 sectional semifinal.
Summit has won the past six sectional finals, but the Hilltoppers' winning streak was shattered when Chatham clinched the win in a nail-biting overtime.
“I am so confident, if we play like we did today we can win it all,” Workman said. “Going into states we knew that if you lose you’re done, but no one was ready to be done today. We weren’t ready to go home, so we’re really excited to see Mendham in the next round.”
At the end of the first half, Chatham was down 6-4 with goals from Workman, junior Chloe McGlynn, sophomore Callie Riabov, and sophomore Haley Riabov. Despite their two-goal deficit at halftime, the Cougars were determined to win.
“No one got down in the first half,” junior goalie Tamer Luzi said. “We kept our heads up and fought until the end.”
The Cougars fought hard to take the lead in the second half, but it seemed that for every goal Chatham scored, Summit scored one, too. Goals from juniors Ally Franz and Lizzie O’Neill tied the game at 8-8, but Summit soon took back their lead.
Two more goals from Workman and O’Neill put the game in deadlock yet again, before sophomore Sophie Straka scored, putting Chatham ahead. A goal from Haley Riabov pounded in the Cougars’ lead, making the score 10-8.
Goalie Luzi held down the fort on her end, deflecting shots left and right, and allowing Chatham’s offense to focus on taking the ball to net.
As the clock ticked down, Summit slipped through Chatham’s defense, bringing the score up to 10-9. With one second left on the clock, Summit scored once more—drawing the game at 10-10 and carrying it into overtime.
Despite the high-stakes, the Cougars remained calm, knowing their hard work and practice had prepared them for this moment. Summit didn’t stand a chance after Chatham won the overtime draw, allowing them to stay on offense for the remainder of the clock.
With less than twenty seconds left, Callie Riabov passed the ball to Workman, who drove in from the top of the twelve and powered a hard shot to the top left, scoring the golden goal and winning the game for Chatham.
Last year, Chatham lost to Mendham in the semifinal round—but this season they hope to bring home a sectional title. This will mark the third meeting against Mendham this season for Chatham. The Cougars lost the Morris County Tournament final to Mendham, 11-8, and then defeated the Minutemen at Haas Field, 9-8, on May 11.
“I feel very confident, we came and beat Summit when we had not beaten them in this round in seven years,” said Chatham head coach Helen McCutcheon Oliver. “We’re enjoying this now but we know we have work to do to prepare for Thursday.”
No. 4 seeded Chatham will meet No. 2 seeded Mendham on Thursday, 4:15 p.m. at Mendham High School for the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 sectional final.