NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - For the eight seniors on the New Providence girls’ varsity lacrosse team, this one was special as they took the field for their Senior Day celebration Saturday, May 14 against Newark Academy at Lieder Field.
With the win New Providence improves to 6-9 and 3-2 in conference play
Prior to the contest, Kaitlyn Sweeney, Lauren Lee, Nicole Dillon, Carolina Dimler, Megan Mahlstadt, Jen Maluso, Kelly Jonovich and Julia Nelson along with their team stats recorder Katie Tselepis were honored with their families for their contributions to the program for Senior Day.
"Going into today's game, we had to focus and pull this out," said Coach Jennifer Henry. "This is our largest senior class, it was important to get a win for them today."
One of the eight seniors is Franklin & Marshall College bound Julia Nelson who shined in goal recording a season high 12 saves in the game.
"We are lucky that we have such a strong goalie, two goalies actually [Nelson and Sarah Zeto]," said Henry. "Being here for us on senior day and getting a win, it was great."
Nelson was thrilled to end the season with a win, who gave credit to her defense. "Defense pulled it together, they really saved us getting in front of the ball," said Nelson. "Lauren Pope really helped and we pulled it together in the end."
Once the Lady Pioneers settled into their game, they took care of business, behind a strong second half and pulled away for a 12-7 victory as six different players scored to earn the victory. Mahlstadt, along with juniors Katherine Marzynski and Sam Scott each scored hat tricks.
Scott opened the scoring for the Pioneers connecting on a Dillon pass. However, the Pioneer defense, led by junior Lauren Pope and Jonovich, had their work cut out for them early in the game keeping the Minutemen offensive duo of Ara Nazimiyal (3 goals) and Madeline Christmann (2 goals) out of shooting range. Nazimiyal eventually worked her way from behind the crease to tie the game 1-1.
After back and forth play with solid defense from both sides, New Providence got a break when Jonovich transitioned to Sweeney who connected with Scott, who dodged her way for an open shot to take a temporary 2-1 advantage. Newark Academy quickly answered to tie the game. Christmann continued to control the draw and helped her team to take a 4-2 lead.
Pioneer junior Iris Kalashi, who has worked on the draw all year, had to adjust and focus on getting the draw over Christmann, whose height was an advantage. Gaining possession, Kalashi found Scott who connected with Mahlstadt who fired a shot to the upper corner to shift the momentum New Providence's way.
Coach Henry reminded her team that trailed 5-3 at halftime to play their game and take care of the ball and not force the attack. With that, the Pioneers outscored Newark Academy 9-2 in the second half behind two goals by Mahlstadt, three by Marzynski. Dillon, Scott, Elena DelDuca and Maluso each added a goal apiece.
"They went in and played their game and were able to enjoy it more," said Henry.
Up next, the Pioneers will play Gov. Livingston in Berkeley Heights on Monday, May 16 at Snyder Avenue Park with a 5 p.m. start.