Bulldogs win fifth state sectional lacrosse crown in memorable 2021 campaign

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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School senior midfielder Patrick Jamin drives past a Summit defender during the NJSIAA Group II championship game on June 9 in Clark. Summit beat RFH 9-6.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys lacrosse player Dan Garvey rolls behind the net with the ball during the NJSIAA Group II championship game against Summit on June 9 in Clark. RFH finishes the season with a 20-1 record. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys lacrosse played Philip Passalaqua makes a pass to a teammate during the NJSIAA Group II championship game against Summit on June 9 in Clark. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School senior midfielder Patrick Jamin drives past a Summit defender during the NJSIAA Group II championship game on June 9 in Clark. Summit beat RFH 9-6.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys lacrosse player Dan Garvey rolls behind the net with the ball during the NJSIAA Group II championship game against Summit on June 9 in Clark. RFH finishes the season with a 20-1 record. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys lacrosse played Philip Passalaqua makes a pass to a teammate during the NJSIAA Group II championship game against Summit on June 9 in Clark. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The perfect combination of an outstanding offense and a dominant defense helped the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys lacrosse team make the 2021 season one to remember.

For the first 20 games of the season, the Bulldogs were unstoppable as they won every time they stepped onto the field. The team’s win streak included several championships.

 

On May 31, the Bulldogs defeated Manasquan High School, 11-4, at home to win its first Shore Conference Tournament title since 2016.

Next up was the NJSIAA state sectional tournament. After outscoring Holmdel High School and Allentown High School by a combined score of 38-9, the Bulldogs stood toe-to-toe with Wall Township High School in the South Jersey Group II state sectional championship game on June 7 in Rumson.

The Bulldogs won their second title of 2021 as they leaned on their defense to defeat the Crimson Knights, 8-7, and claimed the school’s first state sectional crown since 2017.

“We had a great season and I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” said senior Luke Devlin, who led the team with 58 goals. In two full varsity seasons, Devlin scored 97 goals and added 32 assists.

Devlin said while statistics are “great,” the most fun he had was being on the field with his teammates.

“I’m going to remember the two championships we won and the relationships I formed with the guys,” he said. “Some of them are my best friends and I’m going to miss playing lacrosse with them.”

Devlin said this year’s team wanted to play for the members of the Class of 2020 who lost their senior season to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to play for the seniors who lost out on their season last year,” he said. “We could have been better last year than we were this year and that’s because of the leadership of the seniors last year. They didn’t get to play their senior year. My senior year meant the world to me. Every time I stepped onto the field, I gave it 100% and left it all out there.”

In the midfield, Patrick Jamin was a leader for the Bulldogs. He scored 50 goals and led the team with 44 assists.

Senior goalkeeper Ryan Croddick anchored the defense with 119 saves in 20 games.

Junior Christian Bockelmann and sophomore Cole Cashion were also important players. Bockelmann scored 47 goals and added 22 assists, while Cashion scored 35 goals and added 19 assists in his first varsity campaign.

The Bulldogs averaged more than 14 goals per game and never surrendered more than nine goals in a game.

The game in which the Bulldogs gave up nine goals was the Group II state championship game against Summit High School on June 9 at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark. Rumson’s long win streak came to an end in a 9-6 loss that saw Summit win its third consecutive state championship.

“We came to play in every game this year,” Coach Marc Moreau said. “I felt like we gave (Summit) everything we had in the third and fourth quarters.”

Rumson trailed Summit 6-1 at halftime. The Bulldogs came out of the blocks fast in the third quarter and scored four straight goals to pull within 6-5.

The momentum was with the Bulldogs, but Summit scored just before the end of the third quarter to stop the Bulldogs’ run and take a 7-5 lead into the final 12 minutes of play.

The Hilltoppers scored two more goals and took a 9-5 lead with less than six minutes to play. The Bulldogs added a goal for the 9-6 final score as their season ended with a 20-1 record.

Although it was not the end to the 2021 season the players wanted, Moreau was proud of what they achieved and he let them know it by saying two words when they huddled up after the game.

“Thank you,” the coach said to his players.