MADISON, NJ – The third-seeded Madison High School field hockey team saw its season end in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 tournament semifinals following a 2-0 shutout loss to second-seeded and undefeated Bernards on Halloween.
The Dodgers – who were in search of a sectional title after winning conference and county tournament titles earlier this season – intensified the pressure in the second half, but a pair of first-half goals was all the opposing Mountaineers needed to move on.
“They pressured us and came down and scored right away,” said Madison head coach Ann Marie Davies. “We didn’t give up. We gave them a run in the second half. We just couldn’t finish.”
Bernards, who improved to 23-0 on the season and will see top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the NJSIAA North 2, Group 2 final on Friday, came out firing. Showcasing its size and depth of talent, it was Sarah Iaione who scored with 24:37 left in the first half. That allowed the Mountaineers to get comfortable, as Urte Jessina and Lilly Hengerer both had quality looks later on.
Bernards’ Harley Rosenzweig converted on a penalty stroke with just five seconds left in the first half to make it a 2-0 game.
“They’re good. They’re very good. They’re good at passing; they have a lot of good talent and have a lot of good size. We just took too long to get going, and that was one of our problems throughout the year,” Davies added.
Madison did control more of the ball in the second half. Isabella Fragomeni saw a great opportunity, but it went off the post.
Bernards certainly has limited opponents’ chances throughout the course of the season. Through 23 games, the Mountaineers have 19 shutouts, and have given up just four goals. They, like Madison, won county tournament and conference titles this season.
The Madison loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Dodgers, which included the 4-3 Morris County Tournament final victory over Morristown-Beard on Oct. 16.
The team had an eight-game winning streak that lasted from Sept. 12 to Sept. 29.
“We had two championships,” Davies said. “We just happened to be in I think the toughest group. There are a lot of top teams in this group, and it’s tough. I wish Bernards luck.”