WEST CALDWELL, NJ — A strong second-half surge from Verona resulted in a 13-11 loss for the Caldwell girls lacrosse team despite a solid effort.
“I think they played a great game we just had a couple things not go our way,” said Caldwell head coach Angela Giampino-Vasi.
The game’s decisive run was made in the middle of the second half as Verona took charge. Seven goals were scored in a span of 10 minutes for the Lady Hillbillies who took a commanding 13-8 lead with just more than five minutes to play in the game.
“We got two yellow cards and were down by two [players],” said Giampino-Vasi. "I kind of feel like we started to lose our momentum a little bit and when we started to regroup it was just too late."
The two main scorers in Ava Anderson and Dana Pena prompted Verona’s strong scoring run as the Hillbillies continued their winning streak. Anderson was able to notch her 100th career goal in the process of completing a six goal contest while Pena added four of her own on the day.
“Dana and Ava are just amazing, they give 100 percent all the time and they demand their teammates to do the same,” said Verona head coach Suzanne Giarrusso.
Caldwell fought back down by five to make the game uncomfortable for Verona in the final five minutes. Sam Gargiulo, who tallied a game-high seven goals, helped trim the Verona lead to just two with less than two minutes remaining, but ultimately the Lady Hillbillies to win the next draw and wind down most of the remaining time in regulation.
“We were in it, Verona is a great team, though,” said Giampino-Visi.
For the Lady Chiefs, it was a tough loss after a strong first half performance which spotted them a 6-5 lead. Caldwell impressed early on taking a lead of 2-1 in the game's first five minutes. After a lull, the offense came alive late in the first half, sparked by Sam Gargiulo and Brittany Costigan giving Caldwell the momentum heading into the midway point.
“I felt like we were able to control the ball on attack better. We weren’t rushing and that was really going in our favor,” said Giampino-Visi.
Ultimately, a slightly more polished Verona team continued to show why they are second half team. The Lady Hillbillies improved to 5-0 on the season as they will head into a matchup at 7-0 Bernards High School on Monday April 17.
“It’s good to have another win under our belt. We had to work for this one and I don’t feel we played our best lacrosse today,” said Giarrusso. Caldwell always gives us a great game and we’re very evenly matched teams."
For Caldwell, the loss drops the team to 3-2 on the year as its head for a quicker turnaround against 1-3 Cedar Grove on Tuesday. They will use the game with Verona as a learning experience and look to rebound.
“If we beat Cedar Grove we will see Verona again in the County Tournament so that’s a goal we’re looking forward to,” said Giampino-Visi.