MORRISTOWN _ The uninspired warmup and the lackluster first shift made Morristown-Beard defender Anna Bajak feel that things weren't going to go right.
"I didn't think we were ready," Bajak said. "No one was pumped. Our warmup wasn't that great. Our first shift did OK, I guess. They set the tone but it definitely wasn't our best."
By game's end, Bajak's opinion had changed. A hard-fought 8-7 win will have that effect.
Bajak, a freshman, had the equalizer - one of the most important goals of her young career - with 8:13 remaining in the third period and junior center Ally Detre registered the gamewinner with a backhanded shot at 5:50, sending the Crimson past Rye Country Day School (N.Y.) on Friday, Jan. 27 at Twin Oaks.
"It feels good to win," Bajak said. "We battled back. I just wish that we had started better. We're turning it around. We were struggling a bit."
Morristown-Beard (10-7-1) trailed 7-6 after Rye scored 1:31 into the final period. Nearly five minutes elapsed before Bajak received a pass from Jenna Pych. Bajak made her way toward the Rye net and hoped for a goal, of course, or a tip.
When the puck got past Rye goaltender Lexi Secreto, the Crimson seemed ultra fired up.
"That made me so happy," Bajak said. "We got some energy from that goal. In the huddle, I told everyone 'Let's go out and win this game.'"
Detre, the captain, made sure Morristown-Beard would prevail. Detre went throught the middle "with a burst of speed" before unleashing the shot that proved to be decisive. Although the Crimson, who defeated Rye 3-1 earlier this season, were not pleased with giving up seven goals, there was satisfaction in keeping their opponent scoreless for more than 13 minutes.
"I wanted that to go in so badly," said Detre, who had three goals and four assists. "Getting the goal was a big relief. After a back-and-forth game like that, there's a lot of emotion. This game was a little closer than we wanted. I still wish we had played a little better. We needed a little motivation at the end. We've definitely taken a lot of steps since our first game. We've got to keep improving and picking up our game."
The eight-goal outburst came two days after a 2-0 loss to The Hill School (Pa.).
"We produced more on offense tonight," Detre said. "We were good on the breakout. We could be better offensively. Our focus is on the playoffs. We have to play our smartest. We probably won't score as many goals but we'd like to play more well-rounded games."
Jenna Kurz finished with four goals, including three in the first period, and had a pair of assists for Morristown-Beard. Bajak, sidelined for several weeks with a bruised knee, set up two goals as did Ali Palazzetti. Ryan Hammill and Olivia Friesberg had two goals apiece for Rye.
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