NORTH, GROUP 1 FINAL
Monday, June 6
2-Mountain Lakes (8-11) at 1-Verona (15-4), 4
Mountain Lakes has won five sectional titles
Titles – 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2022
Verona has never won a sectional title.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Mountain Lakes: Defeated No. 15 Pascack Hills 16-4 in the first round. Kayla Plotts led with a hat trick, two assists, four draw controls and three ground balls, Kaylin Oey had a hat trick, three draw controls and two ground balls, Lindsay Gellert added one goal and four assists. Defeated seventh-seeded Mahwah 14-7 in the quarterfinals. Oey led with five goals, one assist, seven draw controls and three ground balls, Abigail Hawes finished with four goals, one assist, four draw controls and four ground balls, Plotts added four goals and one assist and Gellert totaled one goal, four assists and five ground balls. Defeated sixth-seeded Westwood 15-6 in the semifinals. Plotts led with 10 goals and one assist, Julia Peterson recorded a hat trick and one assist, Oey added one goal, three assists, 11 draw controls and eight ground balls and Gellert contributed one goal and three assists.
Verona: Defeated No. 16 Pompton Lakes 16-2 in the first round. Riley Kenrick led with four goals and one assist, Bridget Lonsinger finished with two goals, two assists, eight draw controls, four ground balls and one forced turnover, Clara Nippes added two goals and three assists. Defeated ninth-seeded Jefferson 15-2 in the quarterfinals. Kenrick led with eight goals and three ground balls, Lonsinger finished with three goals, four assists, 10 ground balls, seven draw controls and five forced turnovers, Brooke Rienecker added five ground balls, four draw controls and three forced turnovers. Defeated fourth-seeded Kinnelon 13-5 in the semifinals. Kenrick finished with a hat trick, one assist and two forced turnovers, Lonsinger contributed two goals, one assist, 10 draw controls, eight ground balls and four forced turnovers, Nippes totaled two goals, three assists, two ground balls and one forced turnover.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mountain Lakes: Kayla Plotts, Jr. (65G, 14A, 20GB, 37DC); Kaylin Oey, So. (42G, 13A, 39GB, 131DC); Abigail Hawes, So. (22G, 4A, 51GB, 41DC); Lindsay Gellert, Sr. (12G, 40A, 13GB); Emma Barkauskas, Jr. G (189 saves, 185 goals allowed).
Verona: Bridget Lonsinger, Sr. M (63G, 54A, 140GB, 129DC, 73FT); Riley Kenrick, So. A (55G, 17A, 54GB, 8DC, 30FT); Clara Nippes, Sr. A (37G, 28A, 37GB); Brooke Rienecker, Sr. M/D (5G, 4A, 56GB, 41DC, 41FT); Chloe Theilmeier, Sr. A (25G, 22A, 26GB, 12FT); Juliana Squilanti, Sr. D/M (4G, 59GB, 75FT); Julia Dacey, So. A (14G, 19A, 33GB, 20FT).
KEY FACTOR: JUMP OUT EARLY
Top-seeded Verona, which is on the hunt for its first sectional title, has been averaging over 12 goals a game this season. The Freedom North Division champions enter with a 15-4 record, with losses against a ranked West Essex team, Montclair (twice) and Madison. Senior Bridget Lonsinger, who leads the team with 63 goals, 54 assists, 140 ground balls and 129 draw controls, leads a well-round squad that has numerous options on offense, including Riley Kenrick, Clara Nippes, Jane Sorger and Chloe Theilmeier. The defense, highlighted by seniors Juliana Squilanti and Brooke Rienecker, has held opposing offenses to an average of seven goals a game. During its state tournament run, Verona has outscored opponents 44-9.
Second-seeded Mountain Lakes, which won its first sectional title since 2014 last season, enters with a record of 8-11 but plays in the Stars & Stripes South Division against the likes of Summit, Oak Knoll, Chatham, Morristown and Ridgewood. Seven of the Lakers’ 11 losses have come against teams that were ranked in the Top 20 at some point this season. Led by Kayla Plotts (65 goals), Mountain Lakes is averaging over nine goals a game this season and has held opposing offenses to 10 goals a game.
It’s clear that Mountain Lakes has the advantage when it comes to experience of playing in a sectional final, and it has played a tougher schedule. Verona has played against its fair share of tough opponents this season, and can win in close games. Whichever team can win the draw and jump out to a fast lead should gain enough momentum to hold off the opposing offense long enough to hoist a sectional title trophy.
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Lauren Knego covers girls lacrosse and may be reached at @laurenknego.
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