Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD - Ridge shook Ridgewood, but couldn't shake the Maroons' belief.

After a dominating first half, Ridgewood watched a big lead evaporate before a late spurt propelled the Maroons to a 16-12 victory and a third straight North Group 4 girls lacrosse title Thursday.

Ridgewood is the first North Jersey team to win three straight sectional titles, but there was little celebration on the sidelines - a steady rain zapped some enthusiasm - and the seniors took their traditional, solemn last lap around their home field.

"To us, it doesn't really feel like a state championship yet," said Ridgewood senior Courtney Tarleton. "We are excited to win this, because it's the beginning of the end, but it's not the last game."

Ridgewood has had the glory of winning the last two "last games" of the season, having won the last two Tournament of Champions titles.

That type of excellence was on display in the first half as the Maroons carved up the Red Devils. They won draws. They were first to loose balls. They were aggressive. They were faster, more athletic, their passing was pinpoint. They led, 10-3, at the halftime break and the two teams looked like they were playing two different games.

But the funny thing about this Ridgewood team is that no lead is ever safe. They have come back from large deficits numerous times -- and vice versa -- during this run of championships.

This time it was the Red Devils who mounted a charge. Powered by Samantha Brown's game-high seven goals, Ridge (18-5) scored six straight goals to pull to 13-11 with six minutes to play.

"I think people just got too comfortable when we had the lead we had," said Tarleton. "It's hard not to lower your intensity in a game like this when you feel like you are at a different level than the other team. Ridge is a very good team. I think we just had such a great start; that we didn't realize how great they could be. …

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