MADISON, NJ – The 12-goal victory for the Madison High School girls lacrosse team in Tuesday’s Morris County Tournament quarterfinal matchup with fifth-seeded Morristown left head coach Toni-Anne Cavallo speechless.
It wasn’t just because her Dodgers defeated the defending county champion. It may have been because of the fashion it came in.
Madison used a 9-1 spurt to close out the first half and cruised past the Colonials, 20-8, setting up a date with top-seeded Mendham in Thursday’s semifinals at Montville.
“I’ve been with this team for the last four years. These seniors have started with me,” Cavallo said. “It definitely means a lot. We definitely came out here today with the goal of playing in Thursday’s game. I don’t remember the last time we played in the semifinals of the Morris County Tournament. We played with a level of confidence and composure. It was special. We wanted it so bad.”
Lauren Kaye, a Boston University commit, continued her stellar senior season with six goals and five assists. Clare Culligan and Ginny Taylor each put in four goals to go with an assist, Leah Rutland scored three times and Shea Baggett, Charlotte Villano and Emma Torkelson all scored goals for the fourth seed.
Culligan had a team-high eight draw controls.
“They stuck with the game plan,” Cavallo added. “Once the game started going and the girls started scoring goals, they started to get some defensive stops and turnovers. The attack took care of the opportunities that the defense created.”
It was certainly a team effort as Madison gears up to play top-seeded Mendham, which hasn’t been challenged much this season.
The Dodgers (11-2) were able to answer every time Morristown started to make a little rally.
The Colonials scored two quick goals to start the second half to make it a six-goal differential, but Madison then put in five consecutive goals to start the running clock (10-goal differential).
It all started with the play of Kaye and the great movement that Madison displayed all game.
“Lauren is a fantastic player and she has really grown as a leader for us on this team,” Cavallo said. “It’s not about her goals – it’s more about her composure and discipline she demonstrated today.”
Slowing things down, speeding things up, making the right pass, this is what separates the good from the great in sports. Knowing situations, trusting your teammates and being the driving force is what Kaye does.
“Her decision-making today was spot-on,” Cavallo said. “That’s the biggest growth I’ve seen in her, level of maturity and discipline as an athlete. Turnovers can cost you games like these.”
The decision-making was something Cavallo was very pleased with.
“Even if you’re not scoring goals, you’re creating goals by the cuts you make,” the coach said. “I think a lot of things that were happening off-ball were taking ownership of those goals, too.”
Madison realizes the challenge that comes up with Mendham. Her team won’t back down, though.
“We’re going to come in as prepared as we can be,” she said. “I think this group can do anything it puts its mind to. We’re going into Thursday to win, with respect for Mendham and who they are, as well.”