The Chatham Lady Cougars are NJSIAA Group 2 Champions.
Chatham celebrates their group 2 championship win.
Chatham's Jaclyn Leto fires in a goal in the first half.
Kelsey Perselay of Chatham controls a faceoff for her squad.
Kallan Murray of Chatham looks to unleash a shot on the Red Bank Catholic cage.
Kate Murphy of Chatham battles for a groundball.
Chatham's Kate Murphy gets set to take a free position shot.
Brittany Marriott of Chatham attempts to weave through the Red Bank Catholic defense.
Kelsey Perselay of Chatham looks to go to goal.
Jaclyn Leto of Chatham races toward the Red Bank Catholic goal.
Strong Offensive Production Gives Chatham Girls' Lacrosse Team Fourth Group Title in Five Years; Team Dominant Again in 19-6 Win Over Red Bank Catholic
Thursday, May 31, 2012 • 9:43pm
FLEMINGTON, NJ – A strong start is important in any girl’s lacrosse game, but it is usually hard for a team to put together one consistently in the later rounds of a state tournament. That has not been the case thus far for the Chatham Lady Cougars (22-2) who have outscored their opponents by an average of ten goals coming into their group championship game.
They started off hot again when it matter most by scoring six of the game’s first seven goals in less than a 12 minute span before taking care of Red Bank Catholic (20-2) 19-6 in the NJSIAA group 2 finals to capture their third title in a row and their fourth in just a five year span.
“Unreal. There’s no other feeling like it; knowing that were state champs, the best in our group out of so many incredible teams,” senior midfielder Kelsey Perselay said.
“This is huge. Knowing that you’re a senior and contributing all four years on the team, there’s nothing like it. It’s great,” she added, holding back tears.
Like every other game this year, regular season included, Chatham used a total team effort to come out on top.
Leading scorer senior attack Jaclyn Leto led the way with six goals and an assist, Perselay added five goals and an assist, junior Lauren Maiorano had four goals and two assists, senior Brittany Marriott finished with three assists and Kate Murphy, Kallan Murray, Mary Kate O’Neill and Maddy Bowles finished with a goal apiece.
“It’s awesome. This was so much fun. I think it’s just natural for us. We all work really well together,” Maiorano commented about everyone being involved in the win. “We love each other on and off the field. We play really well together and that’s one of our best assets.”
The battle for draw control; perhaps the most telling sign of who will come out on top in a high stakes affair was again dominated by Chatham.
Perselay controlled direction to help her team win nine out of the 14 face-offs in the first half. The ground balls off the draw were picked up by the likes of Marriot, junior defensive stand out Kit Whiteman, Murphy and others.
“We have been working on a lot of boxing out and off the draw it’s just about wanting the ball. We have a lot of determined players out there. I think that showed today; a lot of heart and a lot of hustle and we were winning a lot of those draws,” Maiorano told The Alternative Press.
Chatham built a 4-0 lead early on when Leto and Perselay netted two each before ten minutes had gone by in the opening frame.
Up 6-2 midway through the first, Leto scored three more times along with goals from Perselay, Maiorano and Murphy to round out an impressive 12 goal showing through the first 25 minutes of play. They led comfortably at 12-2 by halftime.
“I think we wanted to be focused and play our game. It gets the offense fired up. The girls played hard, they played focus. It was great,” Chatham Head Coach Deb Marriott commented.
“I have to give the whole team credit because they handled it really well. These girls have worked so hard it (a group title), so it’s a great, great feeling once again,” she continued.
While the offense was stellar as usual, credit for win was also deserved by the Chatham defense.
The likes of Whiteman, junior Ashley Perselay and senior Callie Farmakis, for lack of a better word, shut down the Red Bank offense by allowing only five shots on goal in the first half.
They were gritty in getting groundballs, forced eight turnovers through the first half and the backbone of the team, junior goaltender Hannah Reader finished with six saves.
“Defense was incredible. We have complete faith in them. They come up with the big stops. Hannah was so great in goal. We can always rely on her,” Maiorano said about the other side of the ball.
Chatham is on quite the streak as they now have 20 wins in a row going into the tournament of champion’s semi-final game against Moorestown High School (26-0).
The game will be by far their toughest test of the season thus far as they go up against an undefeated squad who was the runner up in the TOC finals last year.
“We’re definitely coming off this momentum and we definitely want to continue our season as much as we can against anyone. This is a team that can do anything. Anything is possible,” Perselay said.
That game will be played next Tuesday, June 5 at Monmouth University at a time to be announced.