Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood's in a Foul Mood

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood's in a Foul Mood

Article excerpt

Chelsea Trattner surveyed the situation from eight meters out.

She knew she would be inundated by oncoming defenders racing toward her from all angles Wednesday in the North Group 4 final once the whistle blew.

There was little time to think. The Ridgewood girls lacrosse attacker would have to make a decision in seconds.

Drive and shoot? Dodge and pass? Or pull the ball back out and restart the possession?

Trattner's athleticism - a hard drive into the arc - and intuitiveness - she noticed that day's officials were calling more shooting space fouls than usual - earned her a trip to the hash mark for a free position shot.

Think of free position shots as lacrosse's version of a soccer penalty kick combined with a basketball free throw. These trips often result in one-on-one battles between shooter and goalie, capable of swinging momentum depending on the outcome. And their importance heightens this late in the state tournament, when goals often come at a premium.

This particular trip was no different early in the second half with Ridgewood leading by two, as the Stanford-bound Trattner opted for the drive-and-shoot approach.

Goal.

It "kept the momentum going," Trattner said, during a game- changing 5-0 run in Ridgewood's 10-8 victory over Bridgewater- Raritan, which sent the Maroons to today's Group 4 state final against Shawnee. It also displayed the importance of the free position shot - and of defending it - when seasons are at stake.

"Most times when I get the ball down there, I'm looking to shoot," said Ridgewood's Alex Absey, who has a team-best 65 goals. "If it's a physical team, you can't be afraid to go in.

"Sometimes you might not have the shot. But you'll have that chance to draw a foul if you're aggressive, and you'll get that free shot."

It's safe to assume that in every remaining game - and Ridgewood expects to play three more, including the Tournament of Champions final - there will be five to 10 combined free position shots per game. …

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