MORRISTOWN _ On the verge of the biggest victory in the history of the Morristown girls lacrosse program, the Colonials could have spent a lengthy second-half rain delay considering strategies or adapting their battle plans.
Instead, they sang and danced while waiting for the rain to pass.
They had plenty of reasons to sing and dance later, too. Senior center Meghan Siverson had seven goals and senior Casey O'Brien added five to lift Morristown to a 15-11 victory over Hopewell Valley to claim the North Group III title on Wednesday, May 27.
It was the first sectional championship in the history of the Colonials program.
Annika Begley, Maddy Heher and Allie Ferrara also scored goals for Morristown (17-7). Siverson secured the win with a pair of goals in the last 1:35. The win advances them to Saturday's Group III final against perennial state champion Moorestown.
"I can't begin to describe how awesome it feels," Siverson said. "We've been building up to this moment for the four years I've been here. To achieve that in my senior year on our home field is really rewarding."
For Allie Ferrara, it didn't sink in until the players piled on top of each other after the final whistle.
"This is incredibly rewarding, especially for the seniors," Ferrara said. "There are eight of us. It's what we've been working for since our freshman year. It's a nice way to end our careers on Morristown turf."
Goalkeeper Amelia Drake added 11 saves, including some real tough ones, to keep the Colonials in front for most of the game. Morristown is the last girls lacrosse team from Morris County alive in state tournament play. Both Chatham and Mountain Lakes lost in their tournament finals.
The game was tight for the first 20 minutes. Morristown then scored four consecutive goals, including two by Siverson, the last one with 18 seconds left, to take a 10-6 advantage at the half.
"She did an outstanding job with her shots," said Morristown coach Evan Mager. "Every one of her shots built our momentum up."
Morristown began to pull away early in the second half. Defensively, they kept Hopewell Valley from scoring in a 14-minute span between the halves while the Colonials scored six consecutive goals. Morristown led 12-6 when play was stopped by threat of lightning with 17 minutes left in regulation. The Colonials took the break in stride with help from Beyonce.
"We got everyone in an excited mood," Siverson said. "We put on our sneakers and started dancing around, keeping loose and ready to come back out and win."
Morristown was concerned with losing momentum so the Colonials did their best to keep the energy up.
"We were trying to do anything to keep us going," Ferrara said. "We couldn't let that rain delay catch us flat. We were dancing in there. We got all of our friends there, messing around, stretching a little bit, getting ready to come back out."
Despite Morristown's best efforts, Hopewell Valley did rally back. An ankle injury to Siverson and an ill-timed yellow card helped the Bulldogs whittle their way back to within three, 13-10, with 6:57 left. Morristown took a time out to regroup.
"We couldn't let the momentum swing the other way," Mager said. "We don't want to slow down. We are a fast-paced team. The time out was to tell them that you have win draws, get ground balls and we can control the rest of it."
A Hopewell Valley goal and a Colonial yellow card tightened the game up even more with four minutes left. However, Siverson wouldn't be denied, She found a corner with a tight righty shot to make it a three-goal game with 1:35 remaining. Then she won the draw, grabbing it herself to help the Colonials run out the clock. She put the finishing touches on with a goal at the buzzer.
"She is a fantastic player," said Ferrara, who will be attending Louisville with Siverson next year. "She's an all-around player, from the draw, her offense to her defense."
Morristown faces perennial state champion Moorestown in the Group III final on Saturday, May 30. The Colonials consider it to be quite a challenge.
"It's very exciting to play them," O'Brien said. "It's a little nerve wracking because they are the program that they are but we feel we are ready and we are so excited to have a shot to play them."