Montclair Kimberley defeats Montclair girls lacrosse in battle of friendly rivals
The Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse team has had some heartache the last couple of years when it has come to championship finals.
The Cougars recently lost their fourth finals in four attempts.
But when it came to their battles with rival Montclair, Montclair Kimberley had been four-for-four in the last four games between the teams, coming into Wednesday's game at Woodman Field.
It was 2013 when the Mounties last won a game between the two teams, but there was a four-year hiatus between the schools’ facing off.
Despite MKA's recent wins, almost all of the games have had a one-goal difference.
And it appeared it might be a close one again on Wednesday, as the match was tied at the half at three.
But the Montclair Kimberley offense, combined with the goalie play of sophomore Orly Sedransk, shut down Montclair’s chances, putting the game away, 8-4. The Cougars were able to drain the clock for most of the final 10 minutes.
Montclair finished the season at 9-9. Montclair Kimberley finished the 2022 season with a 10-10 mark after falling 16-1 to top-seeded Oak Knoll in the Non-Public A state section playoffs on Thursday, May 26. The Cougars were the eighth seed in the state playoffs.
Against Montclair, MKA senior Patricia Columbia-Walsh led the offense with four goals and three assists. Montclair had four different players score a goal each, seniors Lauren Morganlander, Leigh Naturale and Sabrina Martin and junior Lizzy Giordano.
Columbia-Walsh, the Cougars’ leading scorer, said that defeating Montclair makes up some for the recent loss to Princeton Day in the Prep B final.
"It feels amazing, and it’s a great day when you beat Montclair," said Columbia-Walsh, who was also on the MKA team that defeated Montclair in the battle between the two schools in girls basketball this year.
She credited the victory to Sedransk, who had a dozen saves, especially in the first half, when Montclair top scorers like Giordano, Naturale and Morganlander were mainly stymied by the goalie. "She's amazing, and she was the reason that we won," Columbia-Walsh said.
Sedransk said the win over Montclair was possibly her best-played game this season. "I was seeing the ball real well, and it was like seeing it in slow motion," she said.
Without her, Montclair could have easily had a few-goal lead heading into the second half, changing the tone in the final 25 minutes.
At halftime Montclair Kimberley made adjustments to rectify the issue of turnovers in the first half, and it worked. "We did much better with our passes and throws in the second half," Columbia-Walsh said. "We also talked about being composed, and that it was a 0-0 game."
With the improved play the Cougars’ offense got into gear with a pair of unanswered goals from sophomore Aeryn Curren that put Montclair down 5-3 in the first six minutes of the second half.
But Montclair got back to the swing of it when Martin fired a shot by Sedransk off a free play to slice the MKA lead to one, 5-4, at 17:42.
A half-minute later, Columbia-Walsh tallied a pivotal goal as she pushed the lead up to two goals again, 6-4, and Montclair would not get any closer.
The combination of Columbia-Walsh at the draw and some Montclair turnovers resulted in a goal each from Curren and Columbia-Walsh in the final 10 minutes, when the Mounties could hardly muster up any significant possession time.
In the first half, Montclair would grab the lead a couple of times, even as late as a little more than a minute remaining, when Martin fired a shot by Sedransk for a 3-2 Mounties lead.
But Columbia-Walsh came back just a little more than 10 seconds later to tie the game at three with a tough angle shot that squeezed by Montclair junior goalie Talia Cohen-Vigder.