By EDWARD KENSIK
for Montclair Local
Unfortunately for Montclair Kimberley girls lacrosse, Trinity Hall was kryptonite this season, but the program’s arrow is pointing up.
The Cougars lost for the second time this year to the Monarchs, this time in the Non-Public B final, 13-6, on Saturday at Middletown South High School in what was the first Non-Public B final. In 2020, the NJSIAA decided to split the Non-Public bracket, but the pandemic canceled the season and of course the tournament.
This season finally saw the implementation of the new format.
MKA had previously lost 9-7 to the Monarchs in the Prep B title game on May 12.
For Montclair Kimberley head coach Chelsea Intrabartola, the difference this time was that Trinity Hall took advantage of the Cougars’ turnovers.
“We had trouble clearing the ball, and forced some of our passes in transition/on offense or didn’t protect our sticks,” Intrabartola said. “Trinity Hall put a lot of pressure on our ball handlers and came out really aggressive.”
MKA sliced the Monarchs’ lead to two, 5-3, at halftime, but Trinity Hall scored four straight goals to open the second half for a 9-3 lead, and the Cougars could never get closer.
Despite the defeat, Intrabartola was happy with the season, which included qualifying for three title games: Along with Prep B and Non-Public B finals, the team made the Essex County Tournament championship game. The MKA head coach gave credit to her senior captains for the 16-6 season.
“Our success this season can definitely be attributed to our strong leadership in senior captains, Taylor Everson, Abby Clothier and Katie Hipp,” Intrabartola said. “They really helped to keep the team focused on our goals, and set great examples with their commitment and work ethic. They have really made this program one that can compete with the top teams in the state, so we attribute a lot of our success to them.”
While the seniors took the stage this season, a junior, Patricia Columbia-Walsh, had four goals in the Non-Public B final to lead the Cougars.
“Patricia has been one of our biggest threats on the draw and offensive end of the field all season,” Intrabartola said. “She can take complete control of a game, and she can make big plays in big games. We rely very heavily on her.”
Along with Columbia-Walsh, the Cougars have junior Avery Song and freshman goalkeeper Orly Sedransk returning for the 2022 season. “They will help us to build on all of these successes next season,” Intrabartola said.
In the Non-Public B final, MKA had the game tied early on at one after Columbia-Walsh matched Trinity Hall’s Haven Dora’s goal to start the match. Dora, the Monarchs’ top scorer, matched Columbia-Walsh with four goals of her own.
But then Trinity Hall would put on the pressure and score four straight goals, and the Cougars found themselves down 5-1 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Cougars responded, as Song and Columbia-Walsh scored a goal each to rekindle the MKA hopes as they sliced the Trinity Hall lead to two, 5-3.
“At halftime we talked about coming out more aggressive on defense and in transition,” Intrabartola said. “Trinity Hall runs a zone defense, and we talked about moving the ball faster on offense and looking for the cuts opposite [the] ball. We also talked about handling pressure and decision-making.”
Intrabartola added that she moved a couple of players around and overloaded the defensive side on the draws to slow down the Trinity Hall fast breaks.
While that worked at times, the Monarchs were just too much for Montclair Kimberley.