Saddle River Day Earns Upset over Mountain Lakes for State Title

Michaela McMahon will grab the attention for scoring the overtime goal that lifted Saddle River Day to the North 1, Group 1 championship on Friday afternoon. Goalie Bella Garabo, however, was the reason that McMahon and the second-seeded Rebels were even in a position to pull off a stunning 6-5, overtime victory.

The win not only gave Saddle River Day (8-13) its second consecutive sectional crown, it put the Rebels into Wednesday’s Group 1 state semifinal against the winner of Friday’s contest between Glen Ridge and Oak Knoll in the North 2 final.

Mountain Lakes (12-8) rallied from a 5-3 deficit with 10:30 remaining in regulation. The game drew to a close with both teams taking a defensive posture, each playing for one final shot that never came. Saddle River Day won the faceoff in overtime and immediately went to work, setting up McMahon, whose blistering shot from 15 yards out completed her hat trick and gave the Rebels the win with 1:41 remaining in the extra session.

“We talked about the draw going into overtime and when we got it to attack but make sure not to force the ball,” Rebels’ first-year coach Lindsey Parent said. “We were looking for Michaela, she’s our quarterback out there. She has a huge responsibility taking the draws and a lot of the girls look for her to have the ball.”

Garabo, despite a few flubs from over aggressiveness, proved to be the real star. She stopped 10 shots, many of which were from point-blank range. She spent a great deal of time out of the net, playing aggressively as well.

While that aggression worked well for the most part, it also led to the Lakers tying the game with 7:22 remaining. Garabo was stickhandling in the right corner and lost control of the ball, allowing Kate Carolonza to pick up the loose ball and bury it in the empty net.

“I love playing aggressive and challenging people; I look forward to that,” Garabo said. “I felt bad [about the goal] because I didn’t want to let my team down. I knew I had to step up after that even more. I knew I could do it. I just kept looking up and not looking down. Overall, it was a great day.”

Parent was thrilled with Garabo’s effort, pointing out that the good far outweighed the mistakes. “I have never seen her more aggressive,” Parent said. “She has really developed into a phenomenal player. She comes out aggressively but I saw a lot more energy on her saves. She had a couple of flubs but he didn’t let them take her down.”

Article by Kevin Czerwinski, Special to

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