By EDWARD KENSIK
For Montclair Local
MONTCLAIR — As bad as the weather was, Montclair Kimberley Academy’s boys lacrosse team members felt even worse when the night was over last Wednesday.
The Cougars had to wait more than three hours through weather delays before they finally got off the ground at Shore Regional against top-seeded Pingry in the Non-Public B final.
Montclair Kimberley, the second seed, stayed with Pingry, one of the top teams in the state, for the first quarter. The Cougars were tied at one after the first 12 minutes.
But then Pingry showed its might in the second quarter as the MKA boys found themselves down 7-2 at halftime.
The Cougars stayed with Pingry the rest of the way, but the second-quarter strength ruminated throughout the rest of the game.
The MKA boys lacrosse season came to a halt as the team fell 11-7 in the Non-Public B title game. The Cougars finished with a 13-5 record.
Montclair Kimberley coach Paul Edwards said his club just faced a better team in Pingry, which had only lost one game this season, and that came in overtime.
“We played a very good team,” said Edwards, who added about the second quarter: “We didn’t fall apart. They are just a very good program.”
Despite the loss, Edwards was very happy with the results this season, which was his last as head coach of the program.
“We had a very good year and reached almost all of our goals,” Edwards said.
He ticked off the goals that were reached including winning the North Jersey Interscholastic Lacrosse League Kimber Division title, the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division title and the Prep B title.
And MKA senior Rollins Heath said that there was a lot of talk at the end of the game to talk about the accomplishments this season.
“To come so close and lose a tight game to a very good team is definitely crushing for our guys, but like we talked about in the final team huddle after the game, we should remember all the memories and accomplishments we have had over the season, which helped cheer up the team,” Heath said.
For the season Edwards could not pick one or even a few games where he thought his team brought its best. The Cougars did defeat good programs in Verona, Cedar Grove and Princeton Day.
But Heath said there was no doubt it was winning the Prep B title, 13-8, over Princeton Day on May 12.
“There is no better feeling than hoisting a hard earned trophy with all of your teammates and coaches after a huge win,” Heath said. “The trophy we received only was a marker of how hard the team worked and prepared to win that game against PDS, and to see the smile on everyone’s face after the win is something I will never forget.”
In MKA’s five defeats this season, the team lost by an only an average of only four goals per game. And the teams that the Cougars lost to this past season averaged 14 wins this season.
The lone goal that was missed was winning the Non-Public B title. But the Cougars did reach the finals.
And Edwards did not use the three-plus hour delay because of weather as an excuse for the loss. “It was the same for both teams,” Edwards said about the weather delays.
Montclair Kimberley got offense from two of its top scorers in seniors, Heath and Jake Waldman, with two goals each.
But they could not match Pingry’s top scorer, Harrison Josloff, who buried five shots for goals.
While Josloff got his goals, MKA goal keeper Jake Pryor did a good job keeping the rest of the Pingry scorers off the books as the senior made 14 saves.
Coming into the match against Pingry, the Cougars were on fire, including drubbing sixth-seeded Rutgers Prep 15-4 in the Non-Public Group B semi-finals on June 7.
Against Rutgers Prep, the MKA boys had everything working for them from offense to goal play as the Cougars grabbed an 8-2 lead by halftime and never looked back.
Seniors OB Sedransk and Waldman supplied the offense with four goals each. On the other end Pryor was a wall against Rutgers Prep in goal with 17 saves.