MADISON – The Madison High School girls lacrosse team didn’t forget how last season ended.
A loss to Bernards in the sectional final motivated the Dodgers for this season.
In a rematch in Tuesday’s NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 semifinals, second-seeded Madison edged the third-seeded Mountaineers, 11-10, after Ginny Taylor scored the game-winning goal with 11 seconds remaining on an 8-meter.
“I had so many 8-meters today, and I just couldn’t finish them,” Taylor said. “I knew I had extra pressure. I was like, ‘this is it. This is what counts. This is what we’ve been fighting for since last year.’ I just finished it.”
She faked high and went low for the goal.
Goalie Jula Tully’s save as the buzzer sounded on the last shot from Bernards led the Dodgers back to the North 2, Group 2 final.
The final moments saw a ton of drama. A goal by Bernards’ Abby Cawley tied the score at 10-10 with 10:04 remaining.
Jenna McHale then took a yellow card for Bernards, but Madison was unable to capitalize on the two-minute, man-up situation. Bernards goalie Anna Tamke made a good save on a free-position look by Taylor.
Tully was also effective. She made a stop on a shot by Bernards top scorer Annie Thomas after Madison’s Leah Rutland took a card and Bernards had an opportunity to go ahead with a man up this time around.
Dodgers head coach Toni-Anne Cavallo took a timeout with 3:45 remaining and 32 seconds remaining with her team down a player. Madison turned it over but then Bernards turned it over on the other end to give the Dodgers a final opportunity.
The Mountaineers won the last draw in the last seconds and had a good look as the buzzer sounded, but Tully was able to make the key stop to send the Dodgers into the North 2, Group 2 final against top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven.
“We’ve come this far and we were not stopping now,” Tully said.
Madison (15-4) had a perfect start against Bernards. The Dodgers led 5-0 before Bernards clawed its way back.
Emma Torkelson and Rutland scored early before Shea Baggett, Lauren Kaye and Claire Culligan got involved in the scoring.
The first Bernards goal came from Abby Cawley with 14:15 remaining in the first half. Annie Thomas put in three consecutive goals to cut the deficit to one at 5-4, but then Torkelson answered with a goal to stop the 4-0 Bernards run.
After Thomas and Rutland traded goals, Taylor scored with three seconds left in the half following some good ball movement to put the Dodgers up three, 8-5, at the break.
Madison and Bernards traded goals for the early part of the second half. But when Kelsey Klein and Cawley scored to make it 10-10, that’s when both teams showed tremendous fight.
And so Madison prepares for a very dangerous Rumson-Fair Haven team.
“They’re very strong,” Taylor said. “They have three different lines they can run, all super talented.”
Taylor has a cousin on the Rumson team that she’ll be competing against come Friday.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while,” Taylor said. “She’s ready for it. I’m ready for it.”
Cavallo said that the determination of Taylor was tremendous all game.
“She has a desire to compete,” the coach said. “She was trying to make things happen. Even in the last seconds, she drove and there was no fear in there. To get that 8-meter shot and secure the goal, I was so happy for her and the team.”
Thomas put in four goals for Bernards, Cawley added three, McHale scored twice and Klein had the other goal.
It was truly a back-and-forth game.
“It was a fight on both ends,” Cavallo said.