Monthly Archives: May 2014

Pingry’s Parsons wins high jump at track finals

Despite stepping onto the field at the NJSIAA Track & Field Group Championships for the first time, The Pingry School’s Libby Parsons didn’t let inexperience slow her down in the high jump.

The sophomore, who said she’s only been jumping this season, was the only competitor to clear 5-3 on Friday afternoon at South Plainfield’s Frank Jost Field, taking first place in the Non-Public B field and earning a spot in next Wednesday’s Meet of Champions.

“This is my first year doing high jump; the goal for me was to get 5-2 so this was a really big deal for me. I didn’t think I was going to get it, so it’s pretty exciting for me,” Parsons said.

Parsons, who said she was a little nervous before jumping on Friday, mentioned that her teammates have been very supportive of her since joining the squad this year.

“They’ve been so great with me and I’m excited to keep going; being my first year, I was a little nervous, but I think I can improve,” she said. “I just have to stay focused and just jump my best on Wednesday.”

Pingry’s 4×800-relay team of Sara Gagnon, Emma Palmer, Ellen Li and Anna Butrico took home first place with a time of 10:07.99, nearly 10 seconds better than second-place Newark Academy.

Palmer, a sophomore, paced the Big Blue with a split of 2:26, followed by Gagnon, a senior at 2:30. Butrico, another senior, finished her split at 2:33 and freshman Ellen Li turned in a 2:36.

“Sara and I are graduating seniors and neither of us are running in college, so we see the team as more important than our individual times,” Butrico said. “We have a freshman in Ellen, so we want to show her the Meet of Champions the right way next week, and we have super star in Emma over here, who’s going to pack it in and bring it home for us.”

Adedire Fakorede will join his female teammates next week, after winning the shot put with a throw of 51-5, besting Luke Grodeska from St. Rose by 3.5 feet.

“I don’t know to sum it up, but it’s just a lot of hard work and dedication; I thank God for being healthy,” Fakorede said. “My PR was 51-8.75, and I hit 51-5, which is close to it and on the first throw, which really blew my mind. I was really happy.”

Dana Klein of Gill St. Bernard’s earned a convincing victory in the 1,600-meter run, wiping away the field with a time of 4:59.36, which was more than 23 seconds faster than anyone else. Klein said she had her eyes set on next Wednesday before and during the race on Friday.

“I definitely knew I was going to be running it for time and I was going to be racing the clock, which can, at times, be challenging,” she said. “But I just tried to take it lap-by-lap and stay on pace and it was a little tough to do it by myself. At the end of the day, I was just looking to get a good workout before Meet of Champs, where I’ll have great competition and I’ll be able to race girls and get swept up in a great race. I’m hopeful I can run a good time on Wednesday.”

Armani Comick will join her Gill St. Bernard’s teammates, after winning the triple jump with a distance of 34-4, narrowly edging Villa Walsh’s Grace Penders by 0.25.

Rounding out the local winners was the Somerville boys 4×800 team of Dimitri Demos, Luke Prothero, Jake Howell and Alex Rohmann, who posted a time of 7:56.15, which was more than 2½ seconds faster than Chatham in the Group II race.


Westfield wins Group IV lacrosse title

Westfield's Pat Decker chases down a Southern defender in Wednesday's Group IV Championship game at Somerville High School. Photo by: Jason Towlen

Westfield’s Pat Decker chases down a Southern defender in Wednesday’s Group IV Championship game at Somerville High School. Photo by: Jason Towlen

For the first time since before any of the active members of the team were born, the Westfield High school boys lacrosse team has won a state championship.

Behind the stellar play of its defense and seven goals combined between Pat Aslanian and Luke Prybylski, Westfield defeated Southern Regional, 10-6, Wednesday for the NJSIAA Group IV title at Somerville High School.

The North Group IV champion Blue Devils hadn’t won a state title since taking back-to-back titles in 1986 and 1987, and the school wasn’t able reach a group final since 1988.

“I’m really, really happy for these guys. It’s been a while since we’ve been here, but this is the expectation for Westfield lacrosse moving forward and we plan on being here every year going forward,” Westfield coach Pat Tuohy said. “I couldn’t be prouder of these guys; we had a tough middle of the season, and they just showed their heart and character and never put their head down and they always came back. It was very impressive.”

Against the South Group IV champion, Westfield (12-9) got off to a flying start in the opening quarter, outscoring Southern 4-2, as the teams traded goals in the final 34.4 to close the stanza. Pat and Chris Aslanian had teamed with Prybylski to get the Blue Devils off to a 3-0 start in the first 7:20 of the game, but Chris Smith netted a pair of man-up goals to bring the Rams within one.

Prybylski scored an unassisted goal with 8.2 seconds left in the quarter to give his squad just a bit of breathing room going forward.

“It was huge to get that goal; we were able to separate ourselves and we never looked back. We felt like we were the better team and I think we showed it,” Prybylski said. “We’ve been so close the last couple of years and finally being able to break the barrier is great for this town; Westfield is going to be back on the map for the next few years.”

Prybylski and Pat Aslanian each scored in the second quarter, sandwiching a Brendan Mullen goal, to send Westfield into the half up 6-3, and despite only outscoring Southern 4-3 in the second half, the damage was done.

The Westfield defense, which came into play allowing 8.15 goals per game, shut down a potent Southern (20-3) attack – one that featured three 50-plus goal scorers on the season. Dylan Jinks, who has more than 300 points in his career for the Rams, was held to just one goal and two assists and Shawn McManus – who entered the game with 50 goals and 41 assists – netted just one second-half goal.

“I don’t care who you’ve played; anybody that comes in with a 20-2 record, that doesn’t happen by accident. I don’t care who you are,” Tuohy said. “Lacrosse itself is spreading across this state, and the sport is really flourishing down there like it is up here, so it’s only a matter of time until these games become even.”

Southern made a charge in the fourth quarter, at one point cutting the lead to 8-6, but Pat Decker and Pat Aslanian each netted goals in the minutes following McManus’s goal to clinch the win for Westfield.

With the win, Westfield will be one of the six teams left standing, and will take part in the Tournament of Champions – which will get underway on Saturday with a double-header at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. The Blue Devils, winners of six in a row, won’t be an easy out for any of the other group champions.

“It’s such a surreal feeling; it hasn’t even set in yet,” Pat Aslanian said. “We’re so excited to move along to the Tournament of Champions.”

Carpenter leads East Brunswick to GMC girls golf title

East Brunswick's Sayaka Carpenter competes on Friday at the GMC Championships in Monroe Township. Photo by: Jason Towlen

East Brunswick’s Sayaka Carpenter competes on Friday at the GMC Championships in Monroe Township. Photo by: Jason Towlen

Despite being one of the first players to come off the Concordia Golf Club course on Friday afternoon, East Brunswick sophomore Sayaka Carpenter made her low round stand up.

Carpenter fired a two-over 37 on the front nine to win the individual title and her low score helped East Brunswick capture the team title at the Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Golf Championships.

“This is a great feeling; it’s only my second year and I just want to keep going strong through the next two years after this,” Carpenter said. “I didn’t know I had played so well until I got off the course, but I putted really well today and I just took that and hoped that I would stay in first place with everyone else coming in off the course. I had a bunch of birdie putts that I should have made, but that’s okay.”

Carpenter’s 37 was part of East Brunswick’s team total of 179, which was six strokes better than South Brunswick’s 185. Juniors Ruchita and Rachana Balasubramanian shot a 45 and 47 respectively and senior Lauren Geiger’s 50 rounded out the Bears’ effort. Carpenter said that having two seniors on the team this year helped her teammates ease the pressure of defending the county championship they earned in 2013.

“It’s great, because we have some seniors on this team and I’m really glad we were able to win for them,” she said.

East Brunswick coach Mark Motusesky said he thought the girls felt that pressure, but played excellent golf on Friday with sunny skies above, after a week in which clouds dominated the horizon.

“Absolutely proud of the girls today; we played OK in the division championship and we played a lot better today, so that’s positive,” Motusesky said. “They probably had a lot of pressure on themselves to repeat, but they played awesome, especially Sayaka.”

Motusesky noted that the Bears were a bit nervous coming into the season with expectations over their heads, after last season’s success, but they seemed to get it together at the right time of the year.

“We were a little nervous coming into this year in the big tournaments, but this is going to help catapult us, because we have our four lowest scores coming back. That’s big for us,” he said.

South Plainfield’s Nicole Eager, playing as an individual since she’s the only female member of the Tigers’ team, shot a 43 to place second on the day.

“It felt really good, especially because I’m the only girl on my team, so it’s nice to play this well today,” Eager said. “When one girl came in and she was really excited about how she had played, my heart almost stopped for a second because I thought I was going to get bumped down, so it was certainly nerve-wracking.”

South Brunswick’s Julie Bae (44), Samantha Bishop (45), Megan O’Brien (45) and Monika Bagle (51) put the pressure on East Brunswick for the team title, but came up just short.

TEAM SCORES: 1. East Brunswick 179; 2. South Brunswick 185; 3. Sayreville 203; 4. Metuchen 209; 5. Old Bridge 213; 6. J.P. Stevens 214.

INDIVIDUAL SCORES: 1. Sayaka Carpenter (East Brunswick) 37; 2. Nicole Eager (South Plainfield) 43; 3. Julia Bae (South Brunswick) 44; 4. Ruchita Balasubramanian (East Brunswick) 45; 4. Samantha Bishop (South Brunswick) 45; 4. Megan O’Brien (South Brunswick) 45; 7. Brittany Morgan (Metuchen) 46; 7. Erin Mcquade (Sayreville) 46; 9. Rachana Balasubramanian (East Brunswick) 47; 10. Jennifer Hayes (Old Bridge) 48; 10. Grace Wu (J.P. Stevens) 48.

Montgomery’s Alice Chen captures 2nd straight T of C title


Montgomery's Alice Chen fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions. Photo by: Mike DeSocio

Montgomery’s Alice Chen fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions. Photo by: Mike DeSocio

In the final competitive round of her high school career, Montgomery’s Alice Chen saved her best for last. Thursday morning on her home course, Chen fired a 7-under 65, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions at Cherry Valley Country Club.

In a bogey-free round in which she poured in seven birdies and hit 17-18 greens in regulation, Chen beat her 2013 score of 71 by six strokes. She posted a 33 on the front-nine and 32 on the back-nine.

After her round, in which she was one of the first three golfers to come off of the course, Chen said she was still in shock about the score she posted.

“I was trying to do my best and I started out really well with three birdies on the front nine and I kept on hitting greens,” Chen said. “My ball striking was pretty solid today and I was able to hit 17 out of 18 greens, and the one I didn’t hit was on 18 and I chipped it in from about 20 feet away, so it was a crazy day.”

Chen, who will attend Furman University in the fall on a full golf scholarship, said she didn’t expect to post a score as low as she did on Thursday, or to have this kind of career for that matter.

“To see the progression that I’ve gone through and to have everything come together on one day wasn’t just me. God was molding me and my game,” she said.

Chen’s 7-under score was six shots better than Lenape’s Erica Han, who carded a 1-under 71. Taking a page out of the film Caddyshack, Chen said she was out on the Cherry Valley greens Wednesday night, putting with a teammate until 7:40 p.m.

A year after winning the individual title as a junior, Chen said there was some pressure coming in as the defending champion, but she was nervous in the sense that she didn’t want to let herself down.

“I’m a very sentimental person and I wanted to make the best out of it today. I wanted to make the most out of the experience and I didn’t want to psyche myself out,” Chen said. “The biggest advantage of playing here today, with it being our home course, is that we know the greens really well and we know how to approach them. Being that it’s so close allowed me to get out here last night and having teammates and friends out here to support was great.”

Chen wasn’t the only competitor to repeat on Thursday, as Ridge won its fourth straight team title, posting a score of 303 to best Montgomery by 15 strokes.

Christine Wang finished with a 2-over 74, Monica Schumacher was one shot behind with a 75, Yunhee Kang carded a 76 and Carolyn Wang turned in a 78 to round out the Ridge contingent, as the Red Devils carved 22 strokes off of their record-breaking performance from 2013.

“Unbelievable performance. I’m so thrilled for them and the peaked at the right time; it’s a tribute to them and they followed the game plan,” Ridge head coach Siobhan Devlin said. “They were out there in December and January and February, finding a piece of grass and getting kicked off golf courses in 30-degree weather. We had some struggles throughout the year, but I just told them to stick to the plan and I thought we’d have a chance. Did I think that all four would shoot below 80? No, but I thought two would. The conditions ended up being a perfect storm for us and I told the girls that there’s a difference between deserving and earning it and they earned it big time today.”

Megan McLean of Voorhees finished in a four-way tie for fifth place with a two-over 74, along with Katie Lee from Hunterdon Central. Zora Moore of Delaware Valley joined Kang and Carley Hopton of Madison in a three-way tie for 10th-place with a 76.

TEAM SCORES: 1. Ridge 303; 2. Montgomery 318; 3. Hunterdon Central 327; 4. Red Bank Catholic 333; 5. Bergen Tech 359; 6. West Windsor Plainsboro-South 362; 7. Tenafly 366; 8. West Windsor Plainsboro-North 370.

INDIVIDUALS: 1. Alice Chen (Montgomery) 65; 2. Erica Han (Lenape) 71; 3. Christina Parsells (Kent Place) 73; 3. Nicole Totland (Red Bank Catholic) 73; 5. Megan McLean (Voorhees) 74; 5. Christine Wang (Ridge) 74; 5. Cindy Ha (Demarest) 74; 5. Katie Lee (Hunterdon Central) 74; 9. Monica Schumacher (Ridge) 75; 10. Zora Moore (Delaware Valley) 76; 10. Yunhee Kang (Ridge) 76; 10. Carley Hopton (Madison) 76.

New Providence laxmen roll past Delaware Valley

After losing two of its last three regular-season games and allowing 23 goals in the two losses, the New Providence High School boys lacrosse team has turned its season around at just the right time.

Four days after taking out Lower Cape May by a score of 12-1, the fourth-seeded Pioneers nearly replicated that score against 12th-seeded Delaware Valley on Tuesday.

Behind the stellar play of goalie Garrett Pope and the defense in front of him, New Providence (16-4) toppled the Terriers 11-1 in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA South Group I Tournament. With the victory, the Pioneers will travel to top-seeded Rumson on Thursday with a spot in the sectional final in the balance.

“We have a ton of talent, defensively, so it’s more a matter of making sure we don’t do stupid things,” New Providence coach Vinny Carangelo said. “We play together and we’ve used the fundamentals of defense and in these two games, we’ve done a really nice job.”

The high-scoring trio of James Burke, Jon Ebert and Jack Harvey made sure that the Pioneers would have more than enough goal-support to take down Delaware Valley, as they combined for eight goals and three assists on Tuesday.

Burke netted all three of his goals in the opening half, with two of those coming in the first quarter, and Ebert scored two of his three in the first 18 minutes of play. Harvey – who leads the team with 111 points on the season – picked up two goals and two assists, with both goals and one of the assists coming in the fourth quarter with the game no longer in doubt.

“We have a lot of guys, so if Jack has a tough day, we know he’ll bounce back in the next game. He still played very well, but other guys can step up and the biggest thing is that they all have to trust each other – which they’ve been doing – and we just need to sustain that,” Carangelo said. “We are proud of how far we’ve gotten here, but we can’t be satisfied with this. Last year, it was all about winning that first conference title, but once we did it, it was like we had accomplished our primary goal and the rest kind of fell out. So that’s keeping us hungry and we have the talent to do it”

Quinn Killeen chipped in two goals and Steve Anderson hit for a goal to round out the New Providence offensive attack, in a game where it out-shot Delaware Valley 23-12.

The Terriers didn’t get on the board until the 5:04 mark of the third quarter, when Alex Pfreundschuh converted a pass from Matt Nugent. Throughout the contest, Delaware Valley couldn’t seem to put multiple passes together to put any pressure on Pope and the New Providence defense.

Pope, who’s allowed 5.2 goals per game this season, made just six saves in the win and deflected a lot of the credit to the defenders playing in front of him after his second straight game allowing just one goal.

“The defense has been playing really well and I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well and I think we’re playing really well right now,” Pope said. “We’re not making many mistakes at all, which is good, and we’re putting it together. We’re really, really hot right now and we can beat anybody.”

O’Brien lifts Ridge to its 2nd straight SCT crown

Ridge players celebrate winning the Somerset County Tournament title Thursday night. Photo by: Jason Towlen

Ridge players celebrate winning the Somerset County Tournament title Thursday night. Photo by: Jason Towlen

Sean O’Brien netted the game-winning goal midway through the fourth quarter to lift the Ridge High School boys lacrosse team to its second straight Somerset County Tournament title, 8-6 over top-seeded Immaculata, Thursday night on its home field. O’Brien also netted the final goal of the night with 1:22 left to put it out of reach for good, giving the third-seeded Red Devils their fifth straight victory overall.

“I felt great before that first goal and I knew that their goalie would retreat once JT took it up, so I stepped out and set up and put it in,” O’Brien said.

JT Palladino, an All-American who will play his college lacrosse at Harvard next spring, assisted on both of O’Brien’s goals and was one of eight Red Devils to record at least one point in a comeback effort.

Ridge (12-5) received a sterling performance from game MVP Owen Molloy, who made 12 saves in the net and thwarted many of Immaculata’s chances to backstop his squad to yet another huge victory.

“I was seeing the ball and the defense were putting their offensive players in the right spots and we scattered their shooting, so we knew where it was coming from,” Molloy said. “I just got my hands up and made some saves.”

Molloy and Immaculata goalie Joe Riccadonna put on a show throughout the night, as the two goalies combined for 22 saves, with Riccadonna making eight stops in the Spartans’ net.

Molloy was quick to praise his counterpart after the game.

“I have to tip my hat to Joe, he played outstanding in the cage and that’s great defense on both sides,” Molloy said. “We knew the goals were going to drop at some point.”

Ridge didn’t get on the board until 11 minutes into the game, when Rich McKenna converted a pass from Gavin Kirkwood, but the Red Devils absolutely owned the second quarter, to seize some of the momentum.

Ridge had possession for the first six minutes of the quarter, after winning the faceoff, and although they couldn’t score during that spurt, the effort never wavered and in the final minute of the half, Kirkwood tied the score when he ripped home his 17th goal of the season with 57 seconds left.

Immaculata (12-3) won the ensuing faceoff, but after Molloy made a save, Liam Derkasch scooped up the ground ball and raced down field and scored with 14 seconds left in the half to put Ridge on top for the first time.

“Getting those two goals late was very big,” Derkasch said. “We had the ball so long and kept the momentum in a big game like this, on our turf.”

In the third quarter, Ridge received a scoring boost from an unlikely source, as sophomore Matt Mullan netted a pair of momentum-swinging goals in a two-minute span to give Ridge a lead going into the fourth quarter. Ridge head coach Ken Marsh said that Mullan has been battling an injury and hasn’t played much since the beginning of the season, but he’s getting healthy just at the right time.

“We’re getting him back healthy, which is nice, obviously,” Marsh said. “Getting a player like Matt healthy at this time of the year is key and it’s a really big thing for us.”

Connor and Chandler Vanderbeek scored back-to-back goals for Immaculata spanning the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter, tying the game at 5-5. The twins scored three of Ridge’s six goals on the night, but none after the 11:28 mark of the fourth stanza, when Chandler went flying through the crease to beat Molloy.

Kevin Quigley gave Ridge the final lead of the night at 6-5, when he took a pass from Alex Gaydos and beat Riccadonna at the 7:44 mark of the final quarter. O’Brien’s first goal pushed the lead back to two at 7-5, but Griffin Vanderbeek brought the Spartans back within one less than 30 seconds later.

Hunterdon Central’s Dylan Stein sets mark in Skyland golf championships

Hillsborough's Dylan Stein competes at Wednesday's Skyland Golf Championships. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

Hillsborough’s Dylan Stein competes at Wednesday’s Skyland Golf Championships. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

Despite missing a two-foot birdie putt on his opening hole of the day, Dylan Stein posted the round of his life Wednesday morning.

The junior from Hunterdon Central turned in a tournament-record 66, winning the individual title and helping the Red Devils capture the team title at the Skyland Conference Golf Tournament at Royce Brook Golf Club.

Stein birdied five holes in a row from the 7th to the 11th and then birdied the final two holes to card his lowest round ever, besting Alex Edfort’s previous tournament-record of 67, which he shot in 2009 when the tournament was held at Neshanic Valley.

“I didn’t start off that great; but when I made five in a row, I realized I could go low today,” Stein said. “I feel like I really improved down the stretch and I played really well today. I felt that unless someone else went really low, it would stand up and I would lock this one up.”

Stein’s 66, combined with James Wolfangel’s 74, Luke Wolkin’s 76 and Keith Noonan’s 77 gave Hunterdon Central the lowest team-score of 293, besting Pingry by 19 strokes.

Hunterdon Central, which played on Tuesday in the NJSIAA Sectionals but didn’t qualify for the Tournament of Champions, came back strong, according to coach Larry Ries.

“Yesterday, we didn’t play that well, but I’m proud that they came back the next day. I didn’t know how they’d react to playing 18 holes in another tournament, back-to-back. So I’m really proud,” Ries said. “For Dylan to shoot 66 is fantastic. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise to me, but I thought he could shoot even-par (72). Posting 66 is a hell of a number and Dylan really works on his game and he’s very serious and when you put the time in, you become a good player.”

The 19 schools all played on Royce Brook’s private West Course Wednesday, which pushed 30 golfers’ scores over 90, making Stein’s 66 all the more impressive.

Another star from the day was Watchung Hills’ Mike Graboyes, who shot an even-par 72 to finish third in the individual competition.

“I definitely left a few out there, I burned the edge all day and I left a few short,” Graboyes said. “I hit the ball amazingly, but I couldn’t get it done on the greens, so it’s a little frustrating. But I had a good time out there.”

Graboyes and his Watchung Hills teammates did qualify for next Monday’s Tournament of Champions, which will be held at Hopewell Valley Golf Club, and he said that having some momentum going in will help.

“We don’t have as strong of a team as we did last year, but I was really happy that we made it back to the Tournament of Champions and I hope we repeat as Group IV champions and we’ll see how we do against the rest of the state,” Graboyes said.

Justin Chae of Pingry, who also qualified for the Tournament of Champions, finished second in the individual competition with a two-under 70. He and his Pingry teammates will join Watchung Hills on Monday in Hopewell.


TEAM SCORES: 1. Hunterdon Central 293; 2. Pingry 312; 3. Ridge 322; 4. Montgomery 324; 5. Phillipsburg 331; 6. Bridgewater-Raritan 341; 6. Watchung Hills 341; 8. North Hunterdon 346; 9. Hillsborough 356; 10. Delaware Valley 360; 11. Gill St. Bernard’s 362; 12. Bernards 363; 13. Somerville 377; 14. Warren Hills 390; 14. Voorhees 390; 16. Immaculata 396; 17. South Hunterdon 428; 18. Belvidere 469; 19. Franklin 215.

INDIVIDUAL TOP 20: 1. Dylan Stein (Hunterdon Central) 66; 2. Justin Chae (Pingry) 70; 3. Mike Graboyes (Watchung Hills) 72; 4. James Wolfangel (Hunterdon Central) 74; 5. Luke Wolkin (Hunterdon Central) 76; 5. Daniel McCreesh (Ridge) 76; 5. Ben Raff (Ridge) 76; 8. Keith Noonan (Hunterdon Central) 77; 8. Matt Dannenbaum (Pingry) 77; 10. Jake Mayer (Pingry) 78; 11. Justin Zheng (Montgomery) 79; 11. Matt Elander (Ridge) 79; 11. Ryan Lambert (Bridgewater-Raritan) 79; Shawn McDole (Bernards) 79; 15. Dan Altieri (Montgomery) 80; 15. Kyle Macklin (Montgomery) 80; 15. Travis Cote (Phillipsburg) 80; 18. Tom Wagner (Hillsborough) 81; 18. Alex Lundy (North Hunterdon) 81; 18. Leo Hernandez (Phillipsburg) 81.

Ridge knocks off Bridgewater-Raritan for Girls SCT title

Like it did in the regular season, the Ridge High School girls lacrosse team limited the production of the talented Bridgewater-Raritan freshmen, this time en route to a third straight county title.

Behind the stellar play of senior Hannah Quigley and juniors Izzy Behrins and Devon Brown, top-seeded Ridge (15-3) defeated second-seeded Bridgewater-Raritan in a game of runs 13-10 Tuesday night on its home field for the Somerset County Tournament crown.

Quigley scored a game-high four goals and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, but she said she didn’t focus on playing for individual stats, instead focusing on how she could help her team.

“I wanted us to win this game, but I was playing for my team, not for myself,” she said. “I played well tonight, but it was great to get this win and the MVP. We had a lot of confidence coming into this game and that helped us play well. This feels great.”

Ridge used a 6-0 run spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half to turn a one-goal deficit into the advantage it wouldn’t relinquish en route to the title. Once the second half began, the Red Devils had better than 80 percent of the possession, basically taking Bridgewater-Raritan (16-5) out of its game.

“We talked at halftime about coming out and playing our game, and we did,” Quigley said. “We won the draw controls and we finished and were able to come out on top.”

The win is the sixth straight overall for Ridge since a loss to state power Oak Knoll on April 26, and the Red Devils have been victorious in eight of their last 10 contests dating back to early April.

Behrins added three goals and two assists and Brown registered one goal and three assists for the Red Devils, who received points from eight different players.

“We have a very balanced attack, so we don’t just give it to one girl and have her go to the goal,” Erickson said. “We’ve always thrived because we have a balanced attack. We have a lot of girls that could realistically score multiple goals in a game, so it’s hard to shut one of us down.”

Ridge had beaten Bridgewater-Raritan twice in the regular season – by scores of 8-7 and 20-11 – and did so largely by limiting the damage from freshman phenom Ally Mastroianni. The uber-talented freshman did record nine goals and three assists in those two prior contests, but six of those goals came in the latter contest that was a 12-5 Ridge advantage at halftime. Mastroianni, who came into the game with 135 points (88 goals, 47 assists), which were the fourth-highest total in the state, but finished with just one goal and two assists Tuesday night.

“My concern coming into the year was defense, because we graduated so much from last year, but I felt like our defense has been strong all year and we’ve done a great job of double-teaming and we stick-check well and we get the ball back a lot,” Erickson said. “We were able to prevent her from penetrating as much as she usually does.”

Bridgewater-Raritan was shut down in the second half, as it didn’t score until the 11:24 mark when Mastroianni finally converted. Both freshman Hannah Hollingsworth and junior Mackenzie Knouse finished with a hat trick for the Panthers, and freshman Kirsten Murphy chipped in two goals. Bridgewater-Raritan led 7-6 at the 6:23 mark of the first half, but Ridge’s 6-0 run put the game out of reach in the second half.

Having an experienced group of players, led by Quigley, Ridge leaned on prior games to fight back on Tuesday night.

“These kids have been playing together a long time, not just for these three years here, but since elementary school and they’re used to playing with each other,” Erickson said. “They’re used to being in competitive situations and they’re used to being under the pressure and it helps them in games like this.”

Westfield falls to Summit in tourney final

CLARK — As head coach Samantha Warner put it best, team beats talent every time and on Monday night against one of the top teams in the state, the Westfield High School girls lacrosse team fell short of a county title.

Despite trailing just 7-4 at the half, third-seeded Westfield (10-7) was shutout over the final 25 minutes by top-seeded Summit (15-1) and fell by a final of 12-4 in the Union County Tournament Final at A.L. Johnson High School.

Warner, in her second season as the Westfield head coach, took the Blue Devils to their first UCT Final, but they couldn’t hang with the high-flying Hilltoppers in the second half.

“I just think that we did the best we could on the defensive end; we saw a lot of really nice things, but it came down to being able to execute in the midfield and the attacking end,” Warner said. “We were really trying to move the ball as fast as they slid and we did in the first half, but it slowed down a bit in the second half. It wasn’t the game plan that I had hoped for. That’s on me, but it’s something we’ll work on for the future.”

Sam Paoletti scored a pair of first-half goals and Gwyn Devin and Anna Tanji each netted a goal for the Blue Devils. Paoletti’s second goal, on a free position shot, came with just 17 seconds left in the half and temporarily gave Westfield hope, but Summit’s attack was too much in the second half.

Junior goalie Mallory Weisse came up with eight saves for Westfield, including a pair on the doorstep early on to thwart Summit’s chances.

Even with the loss, Warner said she’s seen tremendous growth in the program since taking over, and she only expects the good things to continue coming.

“Every year they buy in a little more and get a little better and they play more as a team. In the past, it was a lot of individual athletes trying to make plays and it wasn’t a team game. Team beats talent every time and tonight we played a great team that’s also very talented today,” she said. “It’s a huge step for our program and I think we’ll get back here again and it’ll be a more competitive game against them.”

Boys Lacrosse

Summit 9, Westfield 3: Chris and Pat Aslanian and Chris Callahan each netted goals as second-seeded Westfield fell to the top-seeded Hilltoppers in the boys UCT Final at A.L. Johnson High School. The Blue Devils couldn’t get into any bit of an offensive rhythm, registering just nine shots in the game and constantly being hounded when they possessed the ball. Pat Aslanian got Westfield (6-8) on the board with 1:27 left in the first half, just 12 seconds after Summit had gone up 4-0. But Summit tallied just before the half ended and scored four of the last six goals to pull away. Chris Callahan’s goal came with 3:24 left in the third quarter and Chris Aslanian netted his goal early in the fourth quarter after taking a pass from Pat Decker. Summit (15-1), ranked No. 4 in’s most recent poll, came into the game allowing just 3.75 goals per game, and held the Westfield attack to below that.

Immaculata shuts out Somerville in SCT semifinal

SOMERVILLE — The latest chapter of the local rivalry between the Somerville and Immaculata High School boys lacrosse programs was decidedly one-sided in Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament semifinal. Right from the start, top-seeded Immaculata stuck it to the Pioneers, eventually running away with a 13-0 shutout victory and earning a spot in the county final next Thursday.

Senior Joe Riccadonna manned the net for Immaculata (12-2) and made seven saves in what he said was the first shutout of his career. But even after pitching a shutout in a semifinal round of the county tournament, Riccadonna was quick to give praise to others.

“I’m very impressed with my defense in front of me and my teammates in general,” Riccadonna said. “We knew what we needed to do, in shutting down their No. 6 (Logan LeBlond) and we did that. The defense played very well today and I came out fired up. I knew as soon as I put the helmet on and warmed up that it was going to go our way.”

LeBlond, Somerville’s leading scorer, had very few quality looks at the net, as the Immaculata defense constantly double-teamed him and prevented the Pioneers from getting going.

While the defense was busy shutting down LeBlond – who entered play with 79 points – and his attackmates, the Spartans offense was clicking on all cylinders. Chandler Vanderbeek netted four goals, twin brother Connor added a pair and Mark Swintek led all scorers with two goals and five assists.

“Mark is our best passer and he does that every game. I can’t go into words about the kinds of passes he makes. He’s unbelievable,” Chandler Vanderbeek said. “We knew, coming out, that we’d have to play patient and control the pace of the game. That’s exactly what we did and we executed the game plan.”

Jacob VanLeenen chipped in a goal and three assists and Wyatt Agaisse netted a pair of goals for the Spartans. The third Vanderbeek – Griffin, a year younger than Chandler and Connor – added a goal and an assist.

It wasn’t until late in the second quarter when the game got fully away from Somerville (11-4). Through the first quarter and a half, Immaculata only led 3-0, but the Spartans got goals from four different players in the final 6:23 of the half to pull away.

“We knew coming in, that Somerville was going to be in a zone and we knew we’d have to bring our game, because we saw them play Bridgewater and when they got on top early, they had all of the momentum and ran away,” Chandler Vanderbeek said. “We knew that we needed to get off to a quick start, and if it was us or them, it would play a big role in the game. It helped us the rest of the game to get better throughout the game.”

With the schools less than a mile apart, there was added incentive to come out with the win, at least in Riccadonna’s eyes.

“It was fun playing against Somerville in the semifinals and by beating them, they’re just right down the street, and we’re big rivals with them, so getting this win was exciting and this is our time to shine,” he said.

The Spartans will play the winner of Pingry and Ridge in Thursday’s final at Ridge High School. The opening faceoff of the final is scheduled for 7 p.m.

But with so long between games – four days is irregular at this time of the year – Immaculata knows it has to keep working.

“We just need to stay focused over these next four days, because we still have work to do; we’re not perfect,” Chandler Vanderbeek said.