HomeTri TownTri Town SportsSecond-half surge lifts Jackson Memorial past Jackson Liberty

Second-half surge lifts Jackson Memorial past Jackson Liberty

JACKSON — Two teams. One Town. One Goal. The latest chapter in the Jackson Memorial and Jackson Liberty boys lacrosse rivalry brought the community together under the lights on April 22 at the Justice Complex in Jackson.

The contest between the rival high schools was more than just a game. It was an event for everyone involved in Jackson lacrosse from the youth level through high school to help the sport grow in the township and to raise awareness of childhood cancer.

All proceeds from the event were donated to Ocean of Love, a nonprofit organization in Ocean County that raises money to assist children who are battling cancer and their families.

“This is a really big event to help us grow (lacrosse) in our town,” Jackson Memorial Coach Pat Conti said. “We got a great crowd. We need to keep growing this sport in the town.”

For the fifth straight time, Jackson Memorial won the matchup. The Jaguars defeated the Lions, 14-9, to improve to 6-3 in 2022.

“It means a lot to get a chance to spread awareness of childhood cancer and put on a great show for the people of Jackson. It felt great to come out and get the win,” Jackson Memorial senior Matt DeRosa said.

The Jaguars led 7-6 at halftime, but dominated the second half to pull away and earn the win.

DeRosa and senior Charlie Harrison were the catalysts as the Jaguars scored seven unanswered goals to begin the second half. Harrison started the scoring spree with a laser from just above the 30-yard line. His second goal of the game gave the Jaguars an 8-6 lead.

DeRosa scored his second goal of the night moments later to make it 9-6. The two seniors each completed a hat trick by scoring back-to-back goals to end the third quarter. The Jaguars led 11-6 entering the final 12:00.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and came out firing in the second half,” Harrison said. “We had better communication on defense. We settled the ball more on offense and were able to pick apart their defense.”

Harrison scored his fourth goal to begin the fourth quarter as the Jaguars pushed the lead to 12-6.

That marked the fourth time in 2022 that Harrison has scored four or more goals in a game. He leads the team with 26 goals.

DeRosa finished with three goals against the Lions and has scored 22 goals in 2022. He leads the Jaguars with 16 assists.

Junior Justin Perillo found the net for his second goal of the game to push the lead to 13-6.

Capping the seven-goal outburst was sophomore Elias Craig, who scored off a great pass from Drew Barocas.

Barocas finished the game with two goals and two assists. Junior Charlie Gumina also scored twice for the Jaguars.

Senior goalkeeper Hunter Olsen finished with 10 saves.

The Lions scored the final three goals and the game ended 14-9.

The Jaguars snapped a two-game losing streak and earned another victory over their rival.

“We needed to get back in the win column and we did,” Conti said. “If we are able to play four quarters of lacrosse like we can, we are going to win some games and surprise some people.”

Jackson Liberty (3-7) was led by sophomore Paul Capozzi and junior Reese Stewart, each of whom scored four goals. Sophomore Billy Schuler added a goal for the Lions.

Coach Anthony Dzienkiewicz has been pleased with the development his players have shown in 2022 and believes there are bigger things to come as they gain experience. The Lions won two games in 2021.

“We are getting better each year and the experience is growing,” Dzienkiewicz said. “We are heavy with juniors and sophomores right now. Having guys like Reese (Stewart) and Paul (Capozzi) leading the offense is really going to help us in the future.”

Jackson Liberty will face Toms River East on April 25.

Jackson Memorial is scheduled to play Manalapan on April 26.

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