BRIDGEWATER, NJ—In their final battle of the season, the Madison High School varsity lacrosse team succumbed to the lower-seeded Ramapo Rangers 3-10 Saturday in the first round of the Tournament of Champions at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
Madison started out in the red, but Ian Waresk was quick to make up the difference as he scored the Dodgers’ first goal, unassisted.
The Dodgers came back to tie it up 3-3 at the half.
After the Rangers scored three in a row in the third, the Dodgers were getting frustrated, and their opponents were coming full force.
“You need to attack them!” Rangers head coach Tom Albano yelled to his team from the sidelines.
Though Madison was down 3-6 at the start of the final quarter, Dodgers fans seemed hopeful. The stands erupted in cheers as hundreds shouted words of encouragement to their hometown team on the field below.
The Raiders came out of the half firing early and often as they poured on seven second half goals, three in the third quarter and four in the fourth to ultimately take down the Dodgers. Madison goalie Nick Spagnoletti played well while seeing a lot of shots on the afternoon, ending the game with seven saves.
Dodgers’ team captain, Pat Grahling, was injured in the second half.
Madison's three game goals were scored by #16, Ian Waresk, junior attack, #4, Ryan Schmitz, junior midfield and #20, Jackson Cox, senior attack/midfield.
“Madison played great," said Ramapo Head Coach Tom Albano. "Their state championship win over Mountain Lakes - I mean, anytime you beat Mountain Lakes that’s a hell of a win. We told our kids, ‘This is the Tournament of Champions now, and every team has earned their way here. This is going to be a team that’s going to come right at you guys. They’re in the same situation we are. You’re kind of playing with house so it doesn’t really matter what your record is or what you’ve done before."
“It’s one game. Winner goes on, loser goes home," added Albano. “Those are two great coaches over there, and I knew they were going to be coached up well. Their kids fought.”
This was Madison's first State Champioship, ever as well as first year with a new Head Coach, Bryan Armstrong.
“We had a great run this season," said Armstrong. Today Ramapo did a really nice job. They executed very well. Our execution wasn’t there at all times, had some costly turnovers at points."
"The outcome is the outcome," he added. The boys did a heck of a job this year. They had a great year, and they should be real proud of themselves. These guys really gelled together, and really bought into what we were trying to do. There were some senior leaderships and guys who really stepped up for us throughout the year.”
“When you ask about who the key players are, I think we had a lot of key players. Five guys with 25+ goals which is pretty even scoring and all in all it was a great effort by the boys," said Armstrong.
“If we won something this year in town and in the county it’s the culture. We’re at a point right now and a really pivotal spot for Madison lacrosse where guys understand what we are and what we’re about and what we’re doing in the future. We have little guys that are all over the place that absolutely love being out here and supporting our guys. It’s going to grow from here, and we’re really excited.”