For the first time almost 10 years, Columbia High School Girls Lacrosse Cougars have advanced to the quarter-final round in the Essex County Tournament. They play at West Essex High School on May 2, at 4 p.m.
The W over Mt. St. Dominic was one of the best wins of the season, an impressive 2nd half and 9-3 ECT victory. The season has had 11 games so far, with their share of victories and heartbreak losses, but is on track for some promising years ahead with the talented team of younger players.
Some statistics for the team leaders for the season:
Goals: Jamie Fardin 22 (junior), Olivia Fitzsimmons 21 (sophomore), Susanna Knutsen 18 (sophomore) and Margaret McManus 11 (freshman). Assists: Jamie Fardin 9, Evie Campbell 9 (freshman), Margaret McManus 8 (freshman), Kat Turi 5 (senior). Ground Balls: Jamie Fardin 57 (junior), Olivia Fitzsimmons 35 (sophomore), Ada Stout 34 (senior), Kat Turi 29 (senior), Evie Campbell 28 (freshman).
“Our defense really stepped it up and we showed good patience when we had the ball on the offensive end,” sais Cougars head coach Steven Ramos. “We’re a very young team and I believe our best days are ahead with this group!”
Ramos is a CHS alumni Class of 1982 and played on the Cougars’ last state championship team in lacrosse. He has remained active in the lacrosse community having coached both the boys and girls from Maplewood – South Orange rec programs, the “Little Laxers” rapidly growing weekend programs for the youngest players, and taking over the CHS girls program in 2019.
Something that statistics may not show is that the team’s growth and camaraderie off the field that has helped their play-making smarts on the field. Picking up the pieces and learning from defeat shows such great character and heart from all the girls, says teammates.
Midfielder Jamie Fardin is one of the captains’ trio and mentions: “Our team pasta dinners, bus rides, allow us to bond but also talk a lot together after losses and figure out a few things as to why we didn’t have success what we need to do differently.” For this past game she notes, “We really stepped it up on both ends of the field today, had a lot of energy and while the defense did their job holding down their key players, we were able to take the lead, slow it down on offense to hold for long possessions.”
Junior Jamie Fardin made an early commitment to play for Elon University Women’s Division 1 lacrosse team.
Goalie Julianne Henigan can boast the impressive statistic of 125 goals saved this season. Saturday’s victory includes a career high of 17 saves and only 3 goals against. The team celebrated her 200th career goals saved last weekend, as well as her Denison University commit news for Fall 2023.
Said Henigan, “My team did a good job of sliding to the ball and when they were driving, we did an excellent job of cutting them off and crashing, forcing some low angle shots which I can save more easily. And, my midfielders worked so hard running up and down the field all game long which was amazing and really helped jet-start us at the other end.”
The girls have four remaining games including against West Essex on Monday, May 2, and a very special Senior Night game on Wednesday, May 11, at 6:45 p.m. versus Gov. Livingston at Underhill Sports Complex in Maplewood.
Read more about CHS Girls Lacrosse and the team’s recent wins at sidelinechatter.com.