BOONTON _ A goal and two assists were Kaitlyn DaSilva's contributions to Madison's victory over West Essex in the sectional final last season.
DaSilva, obviously, played a significant role yet couldn't forget the goal-scoring opportunity that got away from her in the first overtime.
"I had a breakaway and the ball hit a West Essex player's foot," said DaSilva, flashing back to the scenario that she felt should have resulted in a score. "We got a corner instead."
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, DaSilva, a senior center forward, left the field with no regrets, diving to sweep in the game's only goal with 11:16 remaining, sending the Dodgers to 1-0 victory over West Essex in a Group II semifinal at Boonton High School.
"This is definitely the biggest goal I've ever had," DaSilva said. "I was looking for this. I was waiting for it. I am so happy I got it."
DaSilva's twin sister, Amanda, playing at the top of the defense, was also stellar, making three goal-line saves, two over the final two minutes.
"The main goal was to make sure the ball didn't go in," Amanda DaSilva said. "I gave my all. I used my stick. Whatever worked. It was important not to be nervous. I just played field hockey and didn't let my nerves get in the way."
Goalie Emilie Flamme turned in a strong effort for Madison, repelling nine shots. The Knights had seven corners in the second half. They were no problem for Flamme and the corner unit comprised of the DaSilvas, Elizabeth Romano and Caroline Turnbull.
"I was in the best state of calm I've been in," Flamme said. "My mind was clear. I was composed. We all trust each other. This is what I wanted my senior year. We're accomplishing a lot. I'm so proud."
The win puts the Dodgers (20-2) in the Group II final for the second year in a row. They'll play Wall at 2 p.m. at Bordentown High School. Madison came up short in 2014, getting edged by Rumson-Fair Haven, 3-2.
"This was a heckuva win, one of our best ever," Madison coach Ann Marie Davies said. "After 5-4 in double overtime last year... to do this. I am just elated. It's a hard road in our group. We made a few changes and they worked."
At halftime, Kaitlyn DaSilva was moved from her left midfield spot to the top to give the Dodgers more offensive punch. Amanda, born 23 minutes before Kaitlyn, was moved to the outside post.
"West Essex hangs someone there. Amanda is good at tackling," Davies said.
The first switch meant the ball often was in motion on the end of Kaitlyn's stick. She spearheaded the attack and was not going to let a prime chance to capitalize get away again. Romano brought the ball down, setting in motion the scoring play, before passing to Steph Dellavia. Dellavia got the ball to Kaitlyn DaSilva, stationed right in front of West Essex goalie Paige Innarella.
Her tip didn't make it in so Kaitlyn DaSilva finished the job, diving to her right and sweeping the ball in.
"It was amazing. One of the best feelings," said Kaitlyn DaSilva, who will attend the University of Richmond, where she will be roommates with her sister. "We were all so pumped."
West Essex had only three shots on goal in the opening half. It got off shot after shot in the second half, firing on Flamme, Amanda DaSilva and the "D" 11 more times. In each instance, Madison did not break. Assisting the effort was senior right back Emma Yost, making the first start of her career in place of Caroline Blount, sidelined with a concussion.
"Emma played the game of her life," said Dodgers assistant coach Victoria Sacco. "She was making great plays when frazzled in the circle. She kept clearing the ball out."
After the goal, the Knights became more intense but Madison did not yield.
"This is the best feeling in the entire world," Amanda DaSilva said. "It was a tough game. It came down to who wanted it more."
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