Young Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse makes a statement in spring of 2022
The Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse season was expected to be an uphill battle.
The Cougars had lost a lot to graduation and had injury issues before the first face-off.
But despite all of that, MKA finished at 10-10 and went a couple rounds in all of the tournaments, Essex County, Prep B and the state tournament.
"I was very proud of the team this season," said head coach Cheryl Intrabartola. "We lost a strong senior class and had to deal with a ton of injuries and a very young team. They’re a strong group, and they fought hard from start to finish."
Looking back, it was the last victory that struck a chord, as MKA defeated rival Montclair, 8-4, on May 25 at Woodman Field.
"It’s a big rivalry game since most of the girls on both teams grew up with each other," Intrabartola said. "No matter how our seasons are going, it’s always a battle. The girls had fun playing in that game, and they played so well together."
Unfortunately for the Cougars, on the next day they had the unenviable task of facing Oak Knoll, the top seed in Non Public A and considered the top program in the state. MKA would end its season with a 16-1 loss at Oak Knoll, which lost in the Tournament of Champions finals.
One of the strengths of the 2022 Cougars was the offense, led by senior Patricia Columbia-Walsh and sophomore Aeryn Curren. The pair combined for 124 goals. Columbia-Walsh had 67 goals and 47 assists and was named to the All Super Essex Conference American first team.
"Patricia has been the backbone of our team all season," Intrabartola said about Columbia-Walsh, who will be playing lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania next season.
"She can carry our whole team, and has had to do that in a lot of games. She was our most valuable player this year, and she is leaving very big shoes to fill. I am so proud of the well-rounded player and leader she has become."
Curren scored 57 goals and had 11 assists, garnering All SEC American second team honors.
"Aeryn’s growth from her freshman to sophomore years is just incredible," the coach said. "She is so tough, persistent and talented. She was one of our most reliable midfielders this year — she truly does it all. She has become one of our most dominant players in all areas."
In the back, sophomore goalie Orly Sedransk was solid and has a great upside after getting an All American Division first-team nod. Sedransk averaged eight saves per game while allowing six goals per contest.
"She keeps us in so many games, and she is already growing into a great leader of not just the defense, but the entire team," said Intrabartola, who believes that Sedransk is already one of the top net minders in the state. "She loves the sport so much, and it’s so clear when she plays. She is just so dominant and skilled and passionate."
After Columbia-Walsh and Curren, the next-high scorer who will return for 2023 is junior Caroline Murphy, who collected 25 goals and was pegged for the All American second team. "She continues to grow as a lacrosse player each day, and she was a really solid and consistent presence on the field all season," the coach said. "She is a great leader and athlete."
In front of Sedransk and returning next season is sophomore Ava Moore, who was named to the All American honorable mention list.
"Ava was one of our leaders on the defensive end,” Intrabartola said. “She is aggressive, smart and a great individual and team defender. We put her on our opponents’ top offensive threats this year, and she did fantastic.”
Along with Columbia-Walsh, the other seniors on the 2022 team were Abby Kirsh, Ayantu Flowers, Cassie Polanskyj, Avery Song and Kate Weinstein. One of the biggest losses this year was Song, who suffered a season-ending injury before competition started. Song will be playing lacrosse at the University of Chicago.