PLAINSBORO _ Madison attained the state group title it desired and considered its appearance in the Tournament of Champions a bonus.
The Dodgers, though, didn't let down and stretched their season to the limit, going to overtime before falling 4-3 to Oak Knoll in TOC semifinal action on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Gabby Andretta, a sophomore, had her second consecutive game-winning goal for the Royals, converting with two minutes remaining in the extra period.
"It was an incredibly well-fought game by both teams," Madison assistant coach Victoria Sacco said. "It could have easily gone either way at any point. It came down to a few unlucky bounces here and there that ended up making the difference. We could not ask for a better season for this team. These kids have every reason to be proud.
"We got our state championship which we set out for. Of course, we would have loved to have taken the game tonight but we're still nothing but positive about the outcome of this season."
Just like Oct. 8, the Dodgers outshot Oak Knoll but were unable to break through and lost, 4-1. In the TOC semifinal, Madison had 25 shots to the Royals' 18 and 13 corners, 10 more than its opponent. In the previous matchup, the Dodgers had an 18-7 advantage in shots taken.
Madison, hungry for more goals, came close to scoring three more times, sending shots off the post. Oak Knoll denied the aggressive Dodgers twice with a pair of goal-line saves, including one in OT.
The Dodgers were up, 3-2, for a span of 5:27 in the second half after Lauren Taylor connected off a Stephanie Dellavia pass following a scramble in front of the goalcage. With 20 seconds left, Kirby Comizio scored off a corner to bring Oak Knoll even, 3-3, and force OT. Madison was down a player when the Royals registered the tying goal.
Oak Knoll, which will meet Eastern in the TOC final on Friday, Oct. 20 at Kean University, gained a 1-0 edge on Kendall Hanlon's goal 4:37 into the opening period. Ali McCarthy picked up the first of her two assists on the scoring play.
Stephanie Dellavia received a pass from Elizabeth Romano and tipped in the ball from the post for Madison with nine minutes left before halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Royals were in command again, 2-1, after McCarthy knocked the ball home. Jen Conroy, with an assist by Caroline Turnbull, made it 2-2 for the Dodgers with nine minutes remaining. Lauren Taylor then put Madison in front with 5:47 left. Dellavia was credited with the assist.
The extra period was just as tense. Oak Knoll was awarded a stroke five minutes into OT and Comizio was the choice to take it. Emilie Flamme made the save for the Dodgers, who controlled possession for much of the game thanks to stellar all-around efforts by the DaSilva sisters, Amanda and Kaitlyn, and Turnbull. Several minutes later, Comizio denied Madison an excellent opportunity on a corner with a goal-line stop.
"I will be sad to see this group of seniors go off to bigger and better things but we had so many underclassmen step up this season in big ways that the Madison legacy will continue," Sacco said.