Ridge reverses its SCT final fortunes

Ridge reverses its SCT final fortunes

News

Ridge reverses its SCT final fortunes

By

BERNARDS TWP.

On paper, it was a perfect matchup: one of the top offenses in the state against one of the top defenses in the state. But they don’t play games on paper.

The Somerset County Tournament championship game hasn’t been kind to the Ridge High School boys lacrosse team, but its fortunes changed Thursday night as it captured its first SCT title with an 8-4 victory over Somerville at Lee Field.

The top-seeded Red Devils (13-3) had dropped all four of their previous appearances in the county final, including a 16-3 drubbing at the hands of Bridgewater-Raritan in last year’s title game. And that was an experience many of their returning players didn’t forget.

“They’ve really committed themselves to the team,” said Ridge coach Ken Marsh. “We’ve worked hard getting our scouting reports together, and the kids stuck to the plan. And when they do, we find ourselves successful. These kids wanted to finally get one, and we’re awfully happy.”

Within the scouting report, you would have found the names of third-seeded Somerville’s talented attacking trio of Logan Leblond, Matt Raposo and Dan Remoli highlighted. Ridge’s defensive anchor Mitchell Gray made sure neither of the three got loose, especially Raposo.

“Our main goal was shutting down (Raposo) because we know he’s the quarterback of their offense,” said Gray. “My main goal was to force him to spots where we would have slides there to stop him.”

“We focused on taking away Raposo and taking away his feeding ability,” Marsh added.

Meanwhile, there was an all-star battle taking place in the circle between Ridge’s Alec Burckley and Somerville’s Casey McAdam. Burckley got the better of the matchup, winning 10 of 16 draws in addition to notching one goal and two assists.

“We both know what each other can do,” said Burckley. “I just went in there and got into a rhythm.”

When Ridge got into a rhythm, its offense was crisp. It possessed for a bulk of the game and the scoring was balanced.

With Somerville’s defensive anchor Pat Grega face guarding the Red Devils’ leading scorer JT Palladino, it allowed for a few others to get free; mainly freshman Kevin Quiqley who scored a game-high three goals.

“We just kept on looking for matchups offensively,” said Marsh, “and Kevin worked hard to get those matchups.”

Ridge opened a 5-0 lead at halftime, but the Pioneers (14-2) wouldn’t go quietly. Mike Waterfield and Leblond scored less than two minutes apart early in the third to make it a 5-2 game.

But Ridge goalie TJ Jones clamped down facing the second-half barrage of shots from Somerville and finished with 11 saves. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Owen Malloy (two goals), Palladino (one goal) and Eric Scott (one goal) rounded out the offensive contributors for Ridge.

Leblond finished with a goal and an assist for Somerville, while teammates McAdam, Waterfield and Raposo finished with a single goal each.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports