WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The James Caldwell girls lacrosse team opened up its new turf field in a big way with an 11-6 victory over Montville on Monday.

The field was ---

“This is our first home game on the turf field so we kind of came out excited and wanted to win,” said Caldwell head coach Angela Giampino-Vasi.

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Caldwell took control from the onset of the contest getting out to an early lead with the help of varsity veterans. Sam Gargiulo, Allie Behre and Brittany Costigan staked the Chiefs to a solid 5-1 lead midway through the first half.

“I really think that the whole team played well together and I’m really proud of the way we came together as a team,” said captain Sam Gargiulo, who was particularly impressive in the contest, collecting three first-half goals to help give Caldwell a 6-4 halftime lead.

She finished the contest leading all scorers with six points off of four goals and two assists. The senior has now notched 16 points in the opening two games for Caldwell.

“Sam’s a critical player on our team and a very smart player,” said Giampino-Vasi. "She’s great because she can score, she can make assists, she can make things happen all over the field."

A critical moment in the game came late in the first half that drastically altered the complexion of the game. Having a 5-3 lead that was seemingly slipping away, Caldwell goaltender Lauren Rickenback managed to collect the biggest of her saves for the afternoon, stonewalling a Mustang attacker to change the momentum of the contest.

“Goalies are always the most important players on your team, I am very fortunate to have two goalies and they share time,” said Giampino-Vasi. "When you get those saves it’s incredibly critical."

Caldwell regrouped at halftime knowing that the next scoring run could very well decide the game. Brittany Costigan, Allie Behre and Phoebe Bledsoe joined Sam Gargiulo to tally five goals in the second half and send Montville home with its first loss of the season.

“We just refocused,” said Giampino-Vasi. "At halftime, we talked about getting better passes, getting lower on ground balls and just being smarter…we were able to refocus and realize what our goal was today [which] was we wanted this [win]."

Caldwell’s victory improves the team to 2-0 on the young season. The team seems to be clicking offensively with 29 goals in its first two contests. The Chiefs will look to make it 3-0 on the season as they head to play a talented Madison team, which is looking for its first win of the year.

“We definitely want to keep this momentum,” said Gargiulo. "We do a lot of stuff outside of practice together and we have a lot of team chemistry so I really think that’s one of our strong points."