MADISON, NJ - The Dodgers triumphed Wednesday over the Mountain Lakes Lakers, 9-6, at Livingston High School to win the Group 1 State Championship. Madison had lost to Mountain Lakes in the previous two matchups.
The Lakers screamed and cheered as they sprinted onto the field Wednesday in a flood of orange and white, but their battle cries were not enough to win the war against the Madison Dodgers.
With revenge on their minds, the Dodgers started off the game well after goalie Nick Spagnoletti made a save which lead to the first goal of the game by Ian Waresk.
Ian Waresk, a junior at Madison High School, secured four of the team’s total nine goals, helping his team maintain its game-long lead.
“He’s been our guy all year,” Madison Coach Bryan Armstrong said. “It was really Ian’s day.”
It took Madison about eight minutes into the game to get on the board, but only 18 more seconds to tack on another two goals. Pat Grahling accounted for the first one which was followed with his second on the day to give Madison a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, a setback from which the Lakers never recovered.
“We really put an emphasis on coming out hot” in the beginning of the game, Waresk said.
The Dodger defense did not waiver until there were four minutes left in the first half allowing its first goal of the day, then shortly afterward added another to bring the score to 3-2. Not phased by the Lakers run, and responded just 40 seconds after the Mountain Lakes second goal. Ryan Schmitz embraced the pressure and stung a goal to extend the Madison lead to 4-2 going into halftime.
Waresk opened the second half just like he did the first by bullying his way into space to tack on Madison’s fifth goal. Madison and Mountain Lakes would then trade goals with yet another Waresk goal to make the score 6-3. Just one minute later Jackson Cox netted another Dodger goal and Madison went into the fourth quarter with a 7-3 lead.
However, Mountain Lakes wasn’t going to roll over that easily, and netted two goals in the first 35 seconds of the fourth quarter to make the difference back to two. Despite the rally, Cox would add his second goal to give Madison some insurance and eventually Charlie Cleaves would put in the 9th goal to seal the historic victory for the Dodgers.
The Madison defense played spectacular behind a 12 save performance by Spagnoletti.
Of a winning game Waresk said, “At the beginning of the season the coach asked us where we want to get this season. We said we want to beat Mountain Lakes."
As they had the last three match-up the Madison fourth-grade junior boys lacrosse team came out to support its fellow players, and hyped them up before the game.
“The boys went out and played with great energy,” Madison Coach Bryan Armstrong said. “We asked them to execute a game-plan, and they did just that.”
The win advances Madison into the Tournament of Champions in Bridgewater on Saturday where their opponent has yet to be announced.