By Warren Rappleyea
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s boys lacrosse team is coming off a convincing 13-4 victory April 30 over previously unbeaten Ocean Township High School, as the Bulldogs continue to bounce back from a pair of tough losses in late April.
Coach Andy Eastwood’s squad got out of the gate quickly against Ocean Township and piled up a 6-1 lead by the half. Robbie Garavente led the onslaught with seven goals, teammate Bryan Hess added a pair of tallies and goalkeeper Kyle Knapp made sure the door stayed shut with eight saves.
With the triumph, Rumson-Fair Haven remains atop the Shore Conference’s Class B North Division standings and picks up its third straight victory.
“That’s why we play as many non-conference games as we do — so we can be prepared,” Eastwood said. “Ocean is a strong and talented up-and-coming team, and their record speaks for itself.”
The Spartans entered the match with a 10-0 mark and averaged more than 14 goals per game. Erik Rant leads the high-powered Ocean Township attack with 45 goals and 20 assists, while Sam Hanna, Joey Appio and Connor Daly have all scored 20 or more goals for coach Warren Towns’ team.
Ocean Township entered the match on the heels of a hard-fought, 10-8 win over Shore Regional High School April 27. Daly and Hanna scored three goals apiece and Holden Lowe added two goals in the win.
Against Ocean Township, the Rumson-Fair Haven defense, including Ian Clarke, Emmett Jennings and Lachlan Hill, was solid in front of Knapp. Eastwood also noted that faceoff specialist Butch Clark had a strong day.
After falling 7-6 to Caldwell High School on opening day, the Bulldogs reeled off six successive wins before falling to St. Augustine Preparatory Schol, 6-5, after entering the third quarter with a 5-3 lead April 21. Two days later, Eastwood’s team lost an 8-6 decision to Bergen Catholic High School in a game that saw Knapp make 12 saves.
“We made too many unforced errors against St. Augustine, particularly late in the game,” Eastwood said. “Bergen Catholic just made more plays than we did. That just happens sometimes.”
Rumson-Fair Haven responded with a 16-4 win over Red Bank Catholic High School April 26, with Garavente netting four goals and three assists and Henry Sillen notching a hat trick. Knapp’s 16-save performance highlighted a 12-7 success over Red Bank Regional High School April 29, as Sillen popped in six goals to up his total on the year to 21 tallies.
Garavente leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 31 goals and 20 assists. Sillen is second, followed by midfielder Bryan Hess, who has 18 goals to go with nine assists. Fellow midfielder Charlie Curran has pitched in with 12 goals and four assists, Griffin Schultz has 10 goals and as many assists and Matt Waters, another midfielder, has eight goals and two assists.
The Bulldogs were set to host three home games this week. Holmdel High School was due in May 3, with St. Peter’s Preparatory School (8-4) coming in May 5. Undefeated Bridgewater-Raritan High School provides the competition May 7.