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Rebels scoring goals at fast pace; looking forward to tournaments

Howell High School boys lacrosse player Doug MacKenzie fires a shot on net during a game against Colts Neck on April 27 in Howell. MacKenzie scored a game-high four goals and had an assist to help Howell defeat Colts Neck 17-4.

HOWELL — With May having arrived, the Howell High School boys lacrosse team is ready to make a statement by going on deep runs in the Shore Conference Tournament and in the NJSIAA state sectional tournament.

“May is what matters,” Coach Anthony Bonjavanni said. “I think there is a run in this team. We schedule tough (games) during the regular season to get better and see what we are good at and what we need to improve on.”

Heading into a battle with Christian Brothers Academy of Lincroft on May 3, the Rebels are 11-3. Howell has won nine of its last 10 games and is on a four-game winning streak.

The offensive firepower the Rebels have on their roster was on full display during that 10-game span as the team put 132 goals on the board. Through 14 games, the Rebels have scored 175 goals (12.5 goals per game).

On April 26, the Rebels scored a season-high 20 goals in a win over Robbinsville.

On April 27, the Rebels returned home for Senior Night and saw four players each score a hat trick in a 17-4 victory over Colts Neck.

“It’s nice to get a win on a night where all your seniors and their parents are being recognized,” Bonjavanni said. “Once we got one (goal) to fall, everyone started to relax and play together through the system.”

Senior Doug MacKenzie made the night special as he scored four goals and added an assist.

“It felt amazing to come out here with my brothers and play really well,” MacKenzie said. “Coming out on my Senior Night and scoring four goals to help my team get the ball rolling felt wonderful. We had an immaculate win.”

MacKenzie scored a goal he will long remember in a 12-11 overtime victory over Old Bridge on April 30 in Howell. He scored the game-winning golden goal to lead the Rebels to their 11th victory in 2022.

In Howell’s victory over Colts Neck, senior brothers Tyler Burns and Vincent Burns and junior Jack Marich each scored a hat trick.

Junior Nate Lorenzo scored a goal and added four assists against Colts Neck. Lorenzo has had an outstanding campaign as he leads the Rebels with 34 goals and has contributed 26 assists.

“It’s been amazing,” Lorenzo said. “My coaches and teammates have been helping me every step of the way to get better.”

Vincent Burns leads Howell in assists (34) and his 28 goals gave him a team-high 62 points through 14 games.

Marich reached the 30-goal mark for the season when he scored two goals in the Rebels’ win over Old Bridge.

Senior goalkeeper Colin Fay has been solid all season. Fay made several big saves in a pair of one-goal wins. He delivered 14 saves in a 9-8 victory over Holmdel on April 16 and 11 saves in Howell’s overtime victory against Old Bridge.

Senior defenseman Shayne Hughes anchors the back line and is having an outstanding season, Bonjavanni said.

“It’s pretty much been a total team effort,” the coach said of Howell’s success. “We keep saying to the kids that everyone has to have their moment to help us win.”

Bonjavanni believes the 2022 Rebels have the same type of makeup to rival his 2015 team that went 13-4. During the 2017 season, Howell won a record 14 games.

The way the Rebels perform in May will determine where the 2022 team will stand among the other outstanding teams in the program’s record book, Bonjavanni said.

Speaking for the players, Lorenzo said, “I think we can definitely make it to a sectional (tournament) final. We can go as far as we possibly can if everyone plays perfect and up to their standards of play.”

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