Colts Neck rallies for SCT boys lacrosse win

Colts Neck rallies for SCT boys lacrosse win

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Colts Neck rallies for SCT boys lacrosse win

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WALL

Colts Neck avenged a regular-season loss and junior midfielder John Miller set a school record as the ninth-seeded Cougars defeated No. 8 seed Wall, 8-7, in a Shore Conference Tournament first-round game on Tuesday afternoon.

On May 1, Wall defeated Colts Neck, 9-8, at Wall in a Class A North game. Just six days later, Colts Neck returned to Wall for a postseason showdown between the Class A North schools.

Miller assisted on Andrew Anzalone’s goal with 9:35 left in the first quarter as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead. That assist made Miller the school’s boys lacrosse all-time leading scorer as he surpassed Joe Scott, who graduated with 114 points in 2007. Miller finished the game with one goal and two assists and now has 117 career points.

Colts Neck (9-5) amassed a 6-3 halftime lead as Anzalone scored his two goals in the first half, the second coming with 7:21 left in the second quarter to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead. Miller had his goal with 7:00 left in the second quarter for a 4-1 lead.

“We were up 6-3 and in that third quarter is when they came back,” Colts Neck coach Jeff Rosenberg said. “All I could do was ask my players to keep the intensity up and get the ground balls. I think we won the ground ball war and I think that was the difference in the game.

With 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Colts Neck got flagged for a two-minute non-releasable penalty that gave Wall a prime man-up situation. The Crimson Knights (8-4) outscored Colts Neck, 3-0, in the third as Kyle McDonough, Griffin Savage and Dylan Bosco scored with 4:29, 1:38 and 20 seconds left in the third quarter, respectively, to tie the game at 6-6 after three quarters.

“The intensity was there today considering what was at stake,” Rosenberg said. “We lost to them last week here and we didn’t feel like we should have lost to them.”

So, it was all about the fourth quarter for the redemption that Colts Neck sought.

Wall’s Kyle Critchlow made it a four-goal run for the Crimson Knights when he scored with 10:34 left in the fourth quarter before Colts Neck responded with two unanswered goals to claim victory.

First, Connor Canonico scored with 9:31 left and then Rob Halmi and Brandon Martinez combined on the game-winning play. Halmi was running around behind the net when he found Martinez cutting to an open spot in front of the net and Martinez fired just as he caught the ball for the game-winning goal with 5:49 left.

“It was possessions and not finishing. We had a couple opportunities in the final two minutes and we didn’t close it,” Wall coach Chris Knight said. “We had a three-goal deficit in the first half and they showed a lot of character catching up and even taking the lead. It was just one of those games that we couldn’t finish it at the end.”

Colts Neck will move onto the quarterfinal round and play at top-seeded Southern Regional on Thursday.

“Hopefully, we’ll take the experience on losses like this and the importance of the Shore Conference Tournament and the young ones will learn from this for next year,” Knight said.

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