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Rumson field hockey team captures second Group 2 title

Katie MacGillis fights for the ball as Rumson-Fair Haven defeats Seneca at Bordentown High School in Bordentown, NJ on Nov 11.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School field hockey team captured its second Group 2 state championship after defeating Seneca High School in the final.

The Bulldogs topped Seneca with a 2-0 shutout on Nov. 11 at Bordentown Regional High School in Bordentown.

Rumson-Fair Haven got off to a slow start, but senior midfielder Katie MacGillis scored a goal midway through the first half to give Rumson-Fair Haven a 1-0 lead. With a little over seven minutes left to go in the half, senior Lily Croddick added another goal to give the Bulldogs the commanding 2-0 lead at halftime.

Neither team scored in the second half.

Goalie Molly Nowell  of Rumson-Fair Haven ended the game with seven saves, while Seneca goalie Jenna Flemings had nine saves.

For Croddick and MacGillis, the victory is the second Group 2 title the girls have been a part of. The two, as well as the rest of the senior class, were freshmen on the 2014 team that won the school’s first Group 2 title.

The team had made it to the Group 2 final last year, but it lost, 5-2, to West Essex High School. The Bulldogs got revenge on West Essex in the  Group 2 semifinals this year with a victory on penalty strokes after playing a 1-1 game on Nov. 8.

“I think it means a lot to me and all of the seniors that we were able to help contribute to the team,” Croddick said. “[During our] freshman year, when we all came to the program, we won. Ending our career with a state championship again is just really meaningful to us.”

“I think it means a lot, especially for the seniors because this is our second one [and] especially after us coming back here last year and losing, so that was big for us,” MacGillis said. “But for the newer sophomores and freshmen, for them to come in here and see what our program is all about and to see that year in and year out, we’re competitive. That’s a great thing. So, I’m glad we won today.”

Coach Julie Brewington loved how her Rumson-Fair Haven team competed in the game and felt that the team really picked up steam after the first goal.

“That was huge,” Brewington said. “It was kind of a slow start. A lot of back and forth, and we didn’t have possession for very long. We weren’t playing our game. Once we got that goal in, I think we started to pick it up a lot and started to connect a little bit better.”

Brewington was especially happy for her seniors.

“It’s so special for the seniors,” she said. “Our first ever program title was their freshman year. Ever since then, they’ve been wanting to get back and experience that again. So it’s really special for them to cap off their senior year with that title again and a chance to compete in the Tournament of Champions again.”

Rumson-Fair Haven, which is 21-2-1 this year, was scheduled to take on Oak Knoll School  from Summit on Nov. 15 in the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions. The game will be played at Rancocas Regional Valley High School in Mount Holly.

A victory by the Bulldogs would advance them to the state final on Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m at Kean University in Union.

“We’re definitely looking forward to getting a chance to play them,” Brewington said of Oak Knoll. “They’re a top-tier team, a very strong program year-in and year-out. But we’re excited for the opportunity to play in the [Tournament of Champions], and we’re looking to really put out our best and give us an opportunity to move forward.”

“I think it’s going to be really exciting,” Croddick said. “It’s going to be a close game. We scrimmaged them in preseason, so we kind of know [how they play], but teams get a lot better throughout the season. We’ve gotten a lot better. They obviously got a lot better. We just have to do the best we can to hopefully get through the [Tournament of Champions] and win it.”

“We always look to the competition,” MacGillis said. “They’re a really competitive, good passing team as well. So we have to do our homework and get ready.”

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