Hightstown drops heartbreaker to Monroe in state playoffs
MONROE » Lacrosse has been a part of Abby Agostino’s life for over 10 years and this Hightstown team has become a part of her family.
So, Agostino and the other seniors weren’t going to let the season end without a fight.
The No. 5 seeded Rams battled right down to the final second before falling to No. 4 Monroe, 11-10 on a dreary Thursday afternoon on the Falcons turf in an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinal game.
The Rams end the season with an 11-8 record and they were a team that was possibly playing its best lacrosse at the right time of the year.
A good record, playing hard and being close, though, doesn’t ease the pain of a season-ending defeat.
“This is a really hard moment for me,” said Agostino. “We wanted this game more than anything and it’s really upsetting. Overall, though we grew so much as a team and we are so much better than we were last year. There’s a great bond that we all have this season we were like a family.”
Agostino will be heading to West Chester next season and although she might not play for the Division II team she’ll play club as she’s not ready to put away the stick and mask, just yet
Monroe (16-5), which will meet No. 1 Princeton (18-5 over South Brunswick) in the semifinals, averages 13.1 goals and game and came out firing on all cylinders taking an 8-4 halftime lead.
The Rams spotted them the first goal of the second half just 14 seconds in, but then it was Hightstown taking control. An Agostino spinning goal made it 10-9 with 17:55 left in the game.
The two teams traded goals the rest of the way with Monroe’s goalie Julianne Palmer making a pair of key saves late to keep them in front.
Agostino, who scored 91 career goals, led the way scoring four goals, Lizzy Barrett, Carly Haug and Jackie Matson all had two goals. Haug and Hailey Cammarata had assists. Nina Mason was solid in the cage with 12 saves.
Paige Grandy led the Falcons with six, Liz Skobelev had a hat trick with 73-goal scorer Ashley Patten and Kaley Battoglia each getting one. Patten had three assists and Gandy one. Palmer had 10 saves for Monroe.
“I’m upset with a onegoal lost, but all the credit to Monroe,” said Erin Scheno, the Rams first-year coach. “We played our hearts out. I told the girls that they have raised the bar for Hightstown lacrosse. People used to look at us as an easy win and now they know we are a team that won our division and came to the quarterfinal round of the states.”
Agostino scored with four seconds left and the Rams got the ensuing draw, but time ran out before they could get a shot on the cage.
Time might’ve run out on the season just not on the memories, the friendships and Agostino’s desire to continue to play the game.