Lawrenceville, N.J. - This spring has been a great one for the Colts Neck High School girls lacrosse team to say the least. A 14-0 start to the season helped pave the way for the Cougars to become Shore Conference-A Division champions. With a dominating 17-5 quarterfinal win over No.7 seed Lawrence last week, the No. 3 seeded Cougars punched their ticket to the semifinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 Tournament.
At (18-2) and just one win away from making it to a sectional final, Colts Neck looked primed to make its 2018 season even more special on Tuesday, but unfortunately for the Cougars, No. 2 seed Notre Dame was standing in the way. The Irish defense held Colts Neck to its lowest goal of the season and rolled to a 12-5 victory, ending the Cougars’ season.
“We fought hard all game long, but just couldn’t get possession of the ball a lot,” said Colts Neck girls lacrosse coach Christine Latteri. “Notre Dame won a lot of the draws. They did a good job moving the ball around our zone and didn’t have many turnovers, allowing them to control the pace of the game.”
Camryn Allmers got the Cougars on the board first, banging in the game’s first goal to give Colts Neck an early lead.
That was the only time Colts Neck led in the contest as Notre Dame answered back with four straight goals, two of them coming from Maddie Rizzuto, to take the lead.
Colts Neck was able to cut the deficit to 4-2 when Ally Largey scored her first goal of the game off a nice pass from teammate Lexie Frost. Notre Dame quickly answered Largey’s score, though, with a goal by Ava Scudillo to make it a three score game again with just seven minutes to play in the first half.
Scudillo struck again for the Irish with just over three minutes remaining in the first half, burying in her second goal of the game to give Notre Dame a 6-2 lead.
With less than 30 seconds left in the half, Rizzuto propelled Notre Dame to go into halftime with a 7-2 lead, knocking home her third goal of the half to put Colts Neck in a five-goal hole.
“Our offensive attack as a team was great,” Rizzuto said. “We did a great job passing and moving the ball around.”
Notre Dame increased its lead to 9-2 to begin the second half, putting Colts Neck in a major hole with 20 minutes to play.
After Notre Dame wasted almost 10 minutes clock time possessing the ball, the Cougars finally took advantage of their possession with Sarah Shaughnessy finding Largey in the middle of the Irish zone for the senior’s second score of the game to make it 9-3.
“Our team gave everything it had, but came up short,” Largey said. “This was a very emotional game, especially for the seniors, and the whole team played their hearts out. It didn’t go our way, but it nice knowing we had a great season.”
Largey finished with a team-high two goals and an assist in the contest for Colts Neck
The score stood at 9-3 until Notre Dame got in the double-digits when Gabrielle Skowronski netted her second goal of the contest with just over four minutes remaining. Jessica Pisani extended the Irish lead to 11-3 moments later with her first tally of the game.
Nikki Phillips knocked in her second goal of the game for the Irish, putting Colts Neck down 12-3 with 2:47 left play.
Down nine and with their terrific season coming to a close, the Cougars didn’t quit.
Off a Largey assist, Kayla Wade shot in her first tally of the game for Colts Neck’s fourth goal of the afternoon. Taylor Niedzielski went on to win the following face-off and ran down the field where she knocked in her first goal of the game for Colts Neck, cutting the Notre Dame lead to 12-5.
As the final horn sounded, the Cougars’ bench rushed onto the field in happiness to embrace their teammates, despite the loss. Even though their season had ended and they wouldn’t be playing for a sectional championship, this Colts Neck team is a family in every sense of the word, rejoiced together over the success they had as a team this season.
“This is the best team that I have ever been apart of,” Largey said. “The connection our team had was absolutely incredible. From playing well together on the field to all of us hanging out together off the field, this was an amazing team to be apart of. I will never forget playing with these girls.”
Julia Rossi and Danielle Losier each had a goal in the win for Notre Dame.
Nicole Policastro played a great game in goal for the Cougars, racking up 13 saves in the loss.
Colts Neck ends the season at 18-3.
“This is one of the most successful seasons that has ever happened in the program’s history,” Latteri said. “Our group of girls had a great team culture. It was great to be apart of a tremendous team. Really enjoyed coaching this group of girls.”
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