By Matthew Rocco
The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional boys lacrosse team survived a tight contest with Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) to reserve a spot in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game.
Meanwhile, the Rumson-Fair Haven and Shore Regional High School girls advanced, as expected, to the conference tournament finals.
After beating Point Pleasant Borough High School and Shore Regional, the top-seeded Bulldogs’ boys entered their toughest game of the tournament against No. 4-seed CBA. The Colts were coming off wins against No. 13-seed St. John Vianney High School and No. 5-seed Ocean Township High School, which dropped the quarterfinals, 13-5.
The Bulldogs were up to the challenge against their local rival. Three goals from Robert Garavente, a pair from Henry Sillen and one more from Charlie Curran were enough to overcome a late rally by the Colts, as Rumson-Fair Haven closed out a 6-4 win.
The two sides kept things close in the first half. CBA’s Ryan Madalone put the Colts on the board with a first-quarter goal. The Bulldogs quickly came back to tie it when Sillen found the back of the net. Garavente scored two of his goals in the second quarter, giving Rumson-Fair Haven a 3-2 advantage at halftime.
Garavente’s third score put the Bulldogs ahead, 4-2, in the closing minutes of the third quarter, and Curran extended the lead to 5-2 early in the fourth quarter. CBA climbed back into the game on goals by John Salcedo and Nick Casner. Still down just a goal, the Colts (11-6) couldn’t cash in during the final minute of play. Sillen’s second goal of the day sealed the deal.
Rumson-Fair Haven goalie Kyle Knapp had a strong game in the net, recording 15 saves. Sillen and Griffin Schultz each provided an assist.
The win put the Bulldogs in the Shore Conference Tournament finals for the second year in a row. Last season, the Bulldogs (14-3) lost to Southern Regional High School, 16-6.
Awaiting the Bulldogs in the championship game is No. 2-seed Manasquan High School, which defeated Southern Regional, 12-8, for a chance at the title. The championship game was scheduled to be played May 16 in Long Branch.
Rumson-Fair Haven and Shore Regional will hook up for the second straight year in the girls finals, which was scheduled to be played May 16 at Monmouth University.
Top-seed Rumson-Fair Haven (19-1) beat Manasquan in the semifinals, 12-1. The Bulldogs beat Jackson Memorial High School, 16-1, and then Toms River High School South, 15-2, in the quarterfinals.
Rumson-Fair Haven has won the last three conference tournament crowns. The Bulldogs are led by the trio of Kyra Weiner (34 goals, 24 assists), Elizabeth Scarrone (29 goals, 27 assists) and Brittany Bruno (14 goals, 14 assists). Rumson-Fair Haven has a balanced attack with Morgan Stenhacker (24 goals, 11 assists) and Maggie Jennings (24 goals) producing as big scorers as well.
Second seeded Shore Regional (12-6) needed Sarah George’s six goals to get by Red Bank Catholic High School in the semifinals, 14-8.
Shore Regional beat Manchester Township High School, 19-7, and St. John Vianney, 16-9, in the early rounds.
George is one of the top scorers in the Shore and state with 72 goals and 39 assists.
Mary Kate George (56 goals, 15 assists) has provided support, as have Becca Witschel (38 goals, 15 assists) and Allie Reiser (32 goals).