MENDHAM _ On each Morristown player's wrist was a shamrock with a number 3 in it. Above it were the words "All In."
In the Colonials' hearts was a desire for revenge and fierce determination. Mendham had denied them twice already and it wasn't going to happen again.
Morristown, fueled by Meg Siverson's five goals and the fine goaltending of sophomore Amelia Drake, defeated the No. 2 Minutemen 15-11 in the North Jersey Group III semifinal to earn a berth in the title game opposite fifth-seeded Hopewell Valley.
The third-seeded Colonials, seeking their first sectional crown, celebrated as if they had accomplished the impossible.
"The third time is a charm," said senior midfielder Allie Ferrara, referring to the setbacks Morristown suffered to Mendham when the current 12th graders were juniors and freshmen. "This was unfinished business. There are great players on Mendham so we had to give our all.
"This has been the game. It's been our motivation. We had to prove who we are. We didn't show up last year."
From start to finish, the Colonials (16-7) were more than just present. Morristown took the lead, 2-1, on Maddy Heher's goal with 21:22 left in the first half. They coverted two more times for 4-1. After Mendham's Christine Long struck for 4-2, it outscored the Minutemen 3-2 to pull in front, 7-4, at halftime.
"Coming out, we had to fight," said Siverson, a senior midfielder. "There couldn't be any quitting. We got every 50-50 ball. We had to be strong every minute and get the job done."
Siverson had quite a fan contingent. Her sisters and young cousins were on hand.
"They come to most of the games. They're real troopers," she said. "It makes them happy. I'm glad my sister, Mackenzie, got to see this. She's the future."
The attack had a big day but it was the defense that was even more effective and extremely stingy. Ferrara, for one, had a huge assignment - marking Kerry Speicher.
"(Speicher) is a prominent feeder with a strong crease roll," Ferrara said. "The second she was in the crease, we had to send a double. Everyone had to be on their toes ready to help and slide."
Morristown's game plan was effective. It maintained a lead throughout while Drake denied the attackers.
According to Drake, she's so tough in the net because she practices with a group of very high-level teammates.
"They're very strong shooters," said Drake, who ended with 16 saves. "They take a lot of good shots on me. During games, I trust them to do their jobs. If I get nervous, they comfort me. We cheer each other and keep the energy flowing."
In the second half, the Colonials had what seemed like an insurmountable lead when they pulled in front, 12-6, with 13 minutes remaining. Mendham (11-10) poured it on over the last six minutes and cut its deficit to four goals. Drake and the defenders toiled, doing all they could to preserve the edge.
"Amelia played the game of her life," Morristown coach Evan Mager said. "That's the best I've seen her play. Without her, it would've been really rough. She played a very large role in this win."
Ferrara and Annika Begley ended with hat tricks for the Colonials. Long topped the Minutemen with five goals while Speicher had a hat trick.
"This is definitely historical for us," Mager said. "We have a lot of seniors and have worked hard for this over their four years. They can leave saying they finally did it. As amazing as all of it is, we still have another game to go."
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