Goalkeeper Mel Durbin earned a shutout on six saves to help the second-seeded Rams advance to the title game scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 at Roxbury High School.
Third-seeded Mendham dropped to 14-3.
Randolph (11-3-2) will meet Kinnelon in a rematch of the 2008 title game. Kinnelon defeated Villa Walsh 2-1 in an overtime encounter in the second game of the MCT doubleheader held on Morris Catholic's lower turf field.
"It means a lot,'' Randolph defender Megan Olsakowski said. "Before the game, we were so pumped up. We could tell that we wanted it so much. It was just a really big win for us. ''
It was the second time in four days that the NJAC-National rivals played each other. Mendham defeated Randolph 2-0 on Thursday to take command of the division lead.
"It's an amazing feeling,'' Randolph defender Sam Brener said. "We just wanted to play with so much intensity and prove to (Mendham) that we could come back.''
Roemer was in the right place at the right time. A direct kick by Olsakowski was punched away from the goal by Mendham keeper Faith Sugerman. The ball went directly to Roemer, who took control and then hammered it into the net from about 15 yards out.
"As soon as she hit the ball with her hands, I saw it coming and I opened up my leg and I just wailed it into the back of the net,'' Roemer said. "The ball came right out and I had about three seconds to know where I was going to put it and I buried it right there.''
Randolph is a young team with a number of freshmen and sophomores seeing playing time on the varsity level. Roemer played with plenty of poise despite the fact she was making an appearance in her first varsity game against a talented opponent under intense tournament pressure.
"I didn't even know how many minutes I was going to get today,'' Roemer said. "I just tried my hardest every minute that I was on that field. I got two practices in and this was my first game. I never knew that this would be how it would end up. ... We're in the championship and it feels amazing.''
Roemer was playing center midfield for the junior varsity team but, on the varsity squad, she was placed in a forward role. She demonstrated her goal-scoring ability on the jayvee level and the Rams, who often have trouble on the attack, felt the need for an offensive jolt. Roemer ended up playing a good chunk of the second half and both overtimes.
"For her to come in the game and score was really amazing,'' Brener said. "We are all very happy for her.''
The Randolph players were poised for revenge. In the Thursday loss, the Rams altered their defensive alignment in order to limit Mendham's long-ball strategy, but, despite a good effort, the results weren't there. On Sunday, the Rams returned to the three-back formation with Brener, Olsakowski and Caroline Matos in their usual positions and just vowed to work a lot harder.
"After a lot of talking, we knew we had to come out with a lot of intensity,'' Brener said. "We basically just had to dig in and work as hard as we could.''
Overall, the Rams had better possession and limited the Minutemen's scoring opportunities. Brener kept tabs on Mendham's prolific sophomore scorer Alex Young. She had a few chances but failed to connect.
"She's very fast and she has great foot skills,'' Brener said. "We had to stay on her. We know she doesn't like to be pushed. We were physical on her and we noticed that if you can put a little body on her it puts her off of her game.''
Durbin probably made her toughest save in the waning seconds of regulation. Young centered a pass that went through Shannon Horan to Jamie Hofstetter. Hofstetter's shot was headed for the left corner of the net but Durbin made a diving stop to her right to make the save and send the contest into overtime.
Randolph had the better opportunities of the first overtime with shots by Roemer, Caroline Matos and Anna Conklin early on but then the teams battled between the 18s for the rest of the 10-minute period and the second overtime looked to become more of a defensive struggle.
Randolph's Taylor Lusardi, who was playing her first game back after missing a few contests with back trouble, was able to draw the foul from about 35 yards out that set up Olsakowski's direct kick. The junior defender was trying to serve it into the box for one of her teammates. However, Mendham's Sugerman came out to punch the ball away and then was forced to rush back to the net with a number of players on both sides once Roemer gained possession.
After Roemer knocked in the goal, the celebration was subdued because Rams midfielder Dana Shalit hit the ground with an apparent neck injury and did not get up immediately.
Officials kept her down for a few minutes as a precautionary measure while the Randolph players were happy for the goal but also anxious to see if their teammate was alright. Eventually, Shalit not only stood up but she ran toward her teammates causing a second round of cheers. The Rams' delayed celebration was renewed unabated.
**PHOTO GALLERY BELOW**