The Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse team could not pull off the upset it was looking for on Monday in an Essex County Tournament quarterfinals contest on the road.

The sixth-seeded Cougars (6-6) were feeling pretty good for two-thirds of their battle at third-seeded Caldwell, as they grabbed an 8-7 lead.

But the ceiling suddenly came down on MKA as the Chiefs then scored six unanswered goals to win, 13-8.

“At the end of the game, the possessions got away from us,” MKA head coach Chelsea Intrabartola said.

The Cougars were looking to make it to a third ECT final in a row. Montclair Kimberley lost to Glen Ridge and West Essex in the 2019 and 2021 finals, respectively; the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID.

Intrabartola said there were mixed feelings over the loss. “It’s frustrating because we know that we can do it, we know that we can stay with anybody,” she said.

With their county tournament chances up in smoke, the Cougars look to the Prep B Tournament. They are the top seed and host the Ranney School in the first round on Thursday, May 5. Montclair Kimberley lost to Trinity Place in the 2021 Prep B final.

Against Caldwell, Aeryn Curren led the MKA offense with four goals. Intrabartola has liked the sophomore’s improvement as well as her overall play, which included taking the draws for the first time.

Montclair Kimberley junior Caroline Murphy (8) congratulates senior Kate Weinstein (left of Murphy) who scored to give the Cougars an 8-7 lead. Unfortunately, Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse team lost 13-8 at Caldwell in the Essex County Tournament quarterfinal on Monday, May 2. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair Kimberley junior Caroline Murphy (8) congratulates senior Kate Weinstein (left of Murphy) who scored to give the Cougars an 8-7 lead. Unfortunately, Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse team lost 13-8 at Caldwell in the Essex County Tournament quarterfinal on Monday, May 2. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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Unfortunately for Montclair Kimberley, Caldwell did a good job of face-guarding the Cougars’ top scorer, Patricia Columbia-Walsh. The senior was limited to one goal.

MKA was in good shape with an 8-7 lead with a little more than 16 minutes remaining. Senior Kate Weinstein had fired a shot by Caldwell goalie Sarah Catizone to give the Cougars that lead.

But it was short-lived. Caldwell took the draw, and the Chiefs’ Lily Caravela hit the back of the net 30 seconds later to tie the match. 

Montclair Kimberley could not respond.

While the Cougars had their chances the rest of the way, they could not get another shot past Catizone.

Caldwell would score five more times to end MKA's hopes of getting back to another ECT title game.