SPARTA, NJ – Sparta High School girls lacrosse took their first title ever on Friday, beating Ramapo 15-14 in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 final game. As the score shows it was not an easy win. With family, students and scouts looking on at Reis field, both teams played hard from the first faceoff all the way to the final horn. The lead went back and forth several times.
“We were all a little nervous before the game,” Senior Jacqui Hallack said.
Kaitlin Mead had eight goals including the final go ahead net with 28 seconds left in the game. This game left Mead the top scorer in Sussex county with 234 career goals and top in the state this season with 132.
“We played our hearts out,” Kaitlin Mead said. “We lost to them in the beginning [of the season] and really learned how they played. It really helped with today’s game.”
Ramapo was one of Sparta's two losses this season with a record of 18-2. This record got them the number one seed in the tournament.
Hallack had two goals and four assists. Any time she got the ball deep in Ramapo territory she could not be caught as she charged downfield. The team played with patience passing and setting up in front of the net, waiting for their chance. In the second half, when Ramapo would do the same, Sparta played tight with sticks up, forcing them to move and shoot.
Julianna McGuire was a force in the game with a goal and three assists. The win was a team effort with Brianna Falco, Courtney Klein, Bayleigh Takacs and Lauren Neufeld each contributing a goal. Everyone on the field contributed with defense playing as important a role as offense.
Playing tough in goal Madison Levinson made key saves, several times setting up the next Spartan goal. Levinson stopped 12 Raiders’ shots.
“We did this for our coach,” Hallack said. “She never won a championship game. We are so glad we could deliver.”
The season is not over for the girls. They face Bernards in the next level of play on Tuesday according to head coach Kate Brennan.
“I think we’re going to bring it,” Brennan said. “We have the horses and they just don’t quit.”