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Bulldogs brought lacrosse program to new heights during 2022 season

RUMSON – If they had not done so already, Coach Marc Moreau and his Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School  Bulldogs proved during 2022 why the school’s boys lacrosse squad is one of the top programs in New Jersey.

In their run to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions championship game, the Bulldogs solidified their place among the elite programs in the Garden State with a squad that excelled in all facets of the game.

The Bulldogs went 22-5 and won the Shore Conference Tournament, the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II state sectional tournament (their third sectional title in five years) and the Group II state tournament championship.

The squad’s successful and memorable season ended with a loss to Mountain Lakes High School in the Tournament of Champions final.

“This meant a lot,” senior attack Christian Bockelmann said of the 2022 season. “Making it to the (Tournament of Champions and to the final) was our goal from the beginning of the year and we made it.”

Bockelmann was a part of an explosive offense and he finished the campaign with 16 goals and nine assists while playing with a broken thumb.

“I love this team and gave it my all for this team,” he said. “I love playing for RFH lacrosse.”

Junior Cole Cashion led the team with 82 points on 59 goals and 23 assists.

Junior Quinn Stankovits led the Bulldogs with 62 goals and scored at least one goal during 20 of 21 games he played.

Stankovits lifted his game during the state tournament. He scored a hat trick against Manasquan High School to help Rumson-Fair Haven win the South Jersey Group II state sectional tournament title, and he scored three goals to lead the way in the Bulldogs’ 9-5 victory over Summit High School in the Group II state tournament championship game.

Stankovits tallied 19 goals in seven state tournament games in 2022.

Other stalwarts of the attack were seniors Tommy French, Philip Passalaqua and Connor Spagnuola.

French came through in the clutch when he scored three goals in the second half and added two assists to help the Bulldogs defeat Wall High School 12-7, to win their second straight Shore Conference Tournament title.

In the second half against Summit in the Group II final, French scored two goals to help the Bulldogs secure the victory. French finished the season with 38 goals and led the team with 25 assists.

Passalaqua (36 goals) and Spagnuola (34 goals) were also important contributors during the campaign.

Freshman Grayson Goldin provided a spark to the offense by scoring 21 goals and contributing 12 assists.

Rumson-Fair Haven scored a total of 378 goals during the 2022 season.

On defense, the Bulldogs were led by juniors Beau Kemler, Matthew Bockelmann, Luke Jamin and Will Rehder, with strong play in the midfield from senior Noah Beacher and sophomores Andy Croddick and Brody Page.

Junior goalkeeper William Setteducate finished the season with 127 saves.

Rumson-Fair Haven held its opponents to under an average of five goals per game and only allowed 10 or more goals in a game three times.

After winning the Group II state crown – the second group championship in program history – the Bulldogs defeated Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, 13-8, in the Tournament of Champions semifinals on June 8.

That victory sent the Bulldogs to the Tournament of Champions final for the first time.

On June 13 at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, Rumson-Fair Haven met Mountain Lakes, but winning the overall state title was not in the cards for the Bulldogs, who fell to the northern New Jersey squad, 21-5.

It was not the perfect ending the players wanted, but the loss did not detract from the historic season they had enjoyed.

“It was a great year. The (seniors) had a great career. The sun is going to come up tomorrow and we will be able to look back on this (season) and be proud of what we accomplished,” Moreau said.

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