The undefeated and top-ranked Rumson-Fair Haven boys lacrosse team gave up the most goals it has this season on Wednesday night but the host Bulldogs still had enough firepower to hold off No. 4 Manasquan, 12-5, in a Shore Conference Class A Central game.
The Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0) started off by scoring four straight goals to begin the game as sophomore attackman Robbie Garavente had two goals during that early surge and senior midfielders Chris Hubler and Chris Sutphen each added one goal in that stretch. At one point in the first half, the Bulldogs had a seven-goal lead and it was just a matter of holding off the Warriors (4-2, 1-1) in the second half.
“You can’t really count out a good team like Manasquan. Even at the end, they were giving us trouble,” Rumson-Fair Haven defender J.T. Jennings said. “They are a great team. We felt comfortable at one point and we let up and they came right back.”
That 4-0 first quarter lead turned into a 5-2 lead after the first quarter. The Bulldogs then shut out Manasquan in the second quarter and added four more goals as Garavente, Hubler, senior attackman Dominic Padula and Brian Patterson each scored a goal for a 9-2 halftime lead.
“We’ve been trying to get a lot of bounce shots to go in, that’s what the coaches preach. As much as you can test the goalie and get him moving a lot, is what we try to do,” Padula said. “If you are going to shoot the same way every time, the goalie is going to anticipate it. So, you have to keep changing it up.”
Padula did just that in the second half.
He won a 50-50 ball with a defender, blew past the remaining defenders and fired a shot as he was falling down for an 11-2 lead with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
“I think a shot like that (is) kind of instinct. Obviously, I’m not going to throwing myself around to the ground too much when I’m practicing,” Padula said. “But when you get the opportunity like that (in a game) and you can dive top side and put it in backside, you kind of go for it.”
That type of hustle allowed Padula to record a game-high three goals along with Garavente, while Hubler finished with two goals and one assist and Ben Hess supplied two goals.
Manasquan scored three of its five goals in the second half thanks to Chris Klodowski and Joe Murphy.
After Padula put the Bulldogs up by nine goals with 4:38 left in the third quarter, Klodowski and Murphy sparked a three-goal run for Manasquan.
First, Murphy had an unassisted goal with 2:38 left in third quarter and then Klodowski went for back-to-back goals with 2:13 left in third quarter and with 11:06 left in the fourth quarter, which reduced Rumson-Fair Haven’s lead to 11-5.
However, that’s the closest the Warriors got to the Bulldogs in the second half, even though their scoring total eclipsed the four goals that Notre Dame scored on Rumson-Fair Haven in a 7-4 loss on March 29.
Manasquan’s Murphy and Klodowski each finished with two goals, while Jack Bianco had one goal and one assist.
“We’re definitely one of the biggest teams on anyone’s schedule in the Shore Conference,” Padula said. “It gives us a lot of motivation to come out here and prove that we are where we are and that we deserve to be there.”
And that’s at the top of the Asbury Park Press boys lacrosse rankings.