BOONTON _ Wonderful. Fantastic. Ridiculous.
Those were the words that spilled out of Nicole Borowiec's following Morristown-Beard's 3-1 victory over Parsippany in a Morris County Field Hockey Tournament semifinal at Boonton High School on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Borowiec, a senior forward, was speaking rapidly, anxious to join her Crimson teammates in their extended celebration of the triumph that vaulted them into their first MCT final and to get to the homecoming festivities back at school. Borowiec was clutch in the first semifinal, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal 3:42 before halftime to snap a 1-1 deadlock.
"We were very prepared," Borowiec said. "We deserve to play in the final. Parsippany put up a great fight. This is impressive for us. No one expects things like this from a small school. We want it badly. We have a lot of skill and we practice hard. I'll sacrifice homecoming for this. I'm really excited for us."
It was the second consecutive semifinal appearance for Morristown-Beard, which will meet top-seeded and defending champion Madison, a 3-2 victor over Morristown in overtime thanks to Isabella Fragomeni's goal. Last fall, the Crimson were shut out, 3-0, by Morristown but turned in a strong all-out effort and wanted more.
"I'm really happy for the girls," Crimson coach Kate Alderman said. "Everything clicked early for us. We're relatively young but there are great dynamics on and off the field. It's an exciting time."
Parsippany, which stunned second-seeded West Morris a day before, opened the scoring, receiving a goal from Kaitlyn Fang, on the post, 13:24 into the game, jarring Morristown-Beard. Five minutes, two seconds later, the Crimson evened the score when freshman Emma Karrat converted.
"That was a bit of a wakeup call," said Borowiec, referring to Fang's goal. "We needed to calm down. We weren't frazzled but it. We knew we could get it back."
Borowiec dodged several players before sending a shot into the left side of the goalcage from a foot inside the right side of the circle. Joelle Russomanno capped the scoring for Morristown-Beard, connecting with 6:08 remaining in the game off a corner after picking up a pass from Borowiec. Sam Hutchinson initiated the scoring play, inserting the ball on a corner.
"It took us awhile to warm up, for sure," Alderman noted. "We needed (Parsippany to score first). It motivated us. From that point on, we passed well and clicked as a team."
Hutchinson, a senior co-captain and center back, excelled on defense and offense for the Crimson. Left back Sarah Williams had a busy afternoon and was effective in keeping Parsippany from dominating on the right side of the field.
The Red Hawks were energized and looking to post another upset. Fang's goal made it seem like a possibility.
"That goal was great but I wasn't sure we could sustain it," Parsippany coach Rebecca Lilienthal said. "Morristown-Beard is tough. You can't give them opportunities. We couldn't hang in there for the whole game but our kids played hard. It's difficult to have the momentum back to back to back. I liked our girls' heart. We never gave up."
Juniors Alyssa Gallagher and Michelle Ebel each had a goal-line save and were just two of the Red Hawks' many standouts.
Morristown-Beard's players arrived back at school in time to take in the part of the football game and the homecoming festivities as well as share their accomplishment with their classmates and fans.
"I am really, really happy," Borowiec said before dashing off to the bus.
Fragomeni, who transferred from Mountain Lakes her junior year, had a goal for Madison in last year's title game but the one she had versus the Colonials in this season's semifinals was likely the high point of her scholastic career. Fragomeni, a senior forward committed to Old Dominion, simply decided "I'm ending this. It's over."
She gained control of the ball on the right side of the circle and sent the ball into the left side of the goalcage 4:20 into the extra period. There was absolutely no hesitation when she got the ball on her stick. Fragomeni, who "tends to play with the ball," according to Dodgers coach Ann Marie Davies, immediately unleashed the shot that would result in the decisive goal. The ball eluded Morristown goalie Emily Prachthauser, who had an exceptional game, making an abundance of key saves.
"I sometimes look to pull it," Fragomeni admitted. "Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't. I do it so the team has time to run up."
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