With a chance to end their careers with three straight Morris County Tournament titles on the line, Madison’s senior captains Elizabeth Turnbull and Michelle Montagna knew there would be a bit of pressure.
But the Dodgers’ senior leaders and leading scorers rose to the occasion and found the back of the cage as top-seeded Madison controlled possession on its way to a 3-1 victory over second-seeded West Morris in the Morris County Tournament final on Wednesday night. It was Madison’s third-straight and 19th MCT crown overall.
“It feels amazing,” Turnbull said of the accomplishment. “I can’t even describe it. I feel so accomplished because that was one of our goals this season. As a senior it just feels amazing to come out with another championship and keep the Madison legacy going.”
“It was great,” said Montagna, who was named offensive player of the tournament. “To earn this award with three straight county championships, it is a great way to end my senior year.”
Things started quick for the Dodgers as they earned seven penalty corners in the first 22 minutes to set the tone for the game. The West Morris defense did all it could to keep the Dodgers off the board, stopping the first six corners to keep the game knotted 0-0.
But Madison was finally able to break through thanks to Turnbull, who was able to convert the seventh corner of the evening into a goal when she took the insert from fellow senior Katie Battaglia and immediately sent a shot across the cage and in for a 1-0 Madison lead with just less than eight minutes left in the first half.
“With all the corners we were getting we knew we had the opportunities so we knew we had to succeed,” Turnbull said. “We knew we had to score a goal so it was so nice because we knew we had so many opportunities before then and we finally got to close on one. It was very calming, at least for me.”
The Wolfpack defense held for the rest of the half despite constant pressure to send the game into halftime with the 1-0 score.
“We know their corners are good and the kids stayed focused and stayed low,” West Morris head coach Courtney Bertos said. “We have a pretty good defensive unit. Our freshman goalie (Emily Egan) played the whole game today with our other goalie breaking her toe last game and she did a phenomenal job stepping into a big role in a big game to bolster our defense.”
But the second half was much like the first with Madison applying constant pressure and earning six more corners in and two more goals, one from Montagna and one from sophomore Stephanie Dellavia.
The Wolfpack made a late run after falling behind 3-0, earning three straight corners and converting on one when senior Lindsay Roller corralled a rebound and found the back of the cage with 5:12 remaining to shape the final score.
But it was not enough as time finally ran out sending the Dodgers into a celebration full of songs and laughter.
“It is absolutely awesome and so well deserved,” Madison head coach Ann Marie Davies said of the completion to her senior class’s storied county tournament career. “They are such leaders and it is so contagious to the rest of the team. It was very much deserved and they are very worthy.”