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Bulldogs, Caseys top seeds in conference lacrosse tourney

By Warren Rappleyea

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School and Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School girls’ lacrosse teams head into the Shore Conference Tournament as the first and second seeds, respectively.

Rumson-Fair Haven, which won the tournament last spring and was set to meet 16th-seeded Jackson Liberty High School May 8, owns a 12-2 record and finished atop the Shore Conference A Central Division. The Bulldogs’ losses came against Moorestown High School (13-2) in the season opener and Lawrenceville School (25-0) — an exciting 11-10 overtime decision April 28.

Otherwise, coach Amy O’Keefe’s team has dominated its opponents, scoring 202 goals while allowing just 55 goals against. With three players who have tallied 30 goals or more, the Bulldogs can be a handful for opposing defenses.

Attacker Brittany Bruno leads Rumson-Fair Haven in scoring with 44 goals and 12 assists. Her cohort up front, Kyra Weiner, has scored 30 times and leads the Bulldogs in assists with 26. Midfielder Elizabeth Scarrone is another threat with 37 goals and 18 assists. On five occasions, she has scored four goals in a game this spring.

In addition, there’s plenty of other offensive potential in the middle. Gillian Curran has 22 goals and 13 assists; Mel Guido has added 14 goals to go with 17 assists; Mel MacGillis has 13 goals; and sophomore Cassie James has 10 tallies.

On the other end of the field, Rumson-Fair Haven boasts a veteran defense comprised of Caitie Clark and juniors Lily Bedel and Kylie Wise in front of goalkeeper Sophia Bocklage, who has made 63 saves. The Bulldogs have plenty of depth for O’Keefe to call upon, too.

“We have some new faces, but we also have a lot of girls who played important roles last season,” said O’Keefe, whose team had won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group II crown and with it a trip to the Tournament of Champions. “They know we have to concentrate on the next game.”

Rumson-Fair Haven met RBC early in the season and walked off the field with a solid 16-7 win, as Bruno and Weiner scored four goals each, while Curran and Scarrone added three goals apiece. The Caseys easily won the B North Division and are 14-2 overall, with the only other loss coming against West Morris Mendham High School, 18-4, April 17.

RBC also has a high-powered attack. Midfielder Olivia Farrington has netted six goals in a game three times this spring and has scored 50 goals in all to go with 22 assists. Attackers Amanda Murphy and sophomore Mackenzie Boyle have 47 and 40 goals, respectively, along with 23 assists each. Erin Mattone has 31 goals, and junior midfielder Kristen Pezzullo has 22 goals and 19 assists to her credit.

A young defensive corps led by senior Emily Holtz has improved as the season has progressed. Senior goalie Emily Kirman has turned aside 91 shots in all but was particularly impressive in a pair of wins against Manasquan High School.

“Emily has played well, she helped us beat Ocean and she kept us in a game against Shore until we got moving,” said Caseys coach Lisa Caprioni, who picked up her 300th coaching win earlier this season. “Our defense is a lot better than people may think. We’re a little young, and the girls have battled through some injuries, but they do a good job.”

RBC was scheduled to meet Donovan Catholic High School, the 15th seed, in its Shore Conference Tournament opener May 8.

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