MADISON, NJ – As the clock ticked down to zero and fans clad in maroon and gold celebrated another Dodgers win, Madison forward Elizabeth Romano had one thing to say.
“We wouldn’t be in this without them.”
Second-seeded Madison, No. 6 in the NJ.com Top 20, clinched a 2-1 victory Friday over top-seeded, No. 11 Shore Regional High School in the NJSIAA/Investors Bank North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 State Sectional finals, a fourth-straight sectional win for the Lady Dodgers.
Dodgers forward Chase Cmaylo scored the game’s first goal unassisted with five minutes left in the first half, putting Madison in the lead 1-0.
Madison goalie Nicole Ducey blocked a Shore corner that sent the ball speeding down the middle of the field to another player, who passed it upfield to Cmaylo. Cmaylo broke away and sent the ball past Shore goalie Rachel Dwyer and into the cage.
“Chase made that beautiful goal, and that’s how we scored against them last year to win it,” said Madison coach Ann Marie Davies. “A defensive corner counter down the field, we’ve been working that and for her to do that was awesome. To see them do things you practiced is very rewarding.”
Shore was quick to respond in the final play of the first half as sophomore Lily Santi rocketed the ball past Madison goalie Nicole Ducey, and the game was tied 1-1 at the half.
Davies said she encouraged her team at halftime to play hard and work together.
“I’m the one that’s going to push them to the end,” she said. “It wasn’t a halftime where I was going to pat them on the back and say, ‘We’re doing okay.’ We’re better than this.”
Cmaylo and the Lady Dodgers seemed to respond in the second half, taking the lead with less than 10 minutes left in the game. A pass from Cmaylo to Madison forward Isabella Fragomeni brought the Dodgers back on top 2-1.
The Madison defense deflected multiple Shore corners in the game’s final minutes and held onto the lead as the final buzzer sounded, signaling another Dodgers win.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Davies said. “They played their hearts out today against a tough, tough team and they pulled it out.”
Madison will face off against North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 Wallkill Valley High School on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at Boonton High School in the Group 1 semifinals.