RUMSON – The Southern Regional boys lacrosse team sent a strong message to future Shore Conference opponents on Saturday morning.
Not only did the top-ranked Rams beat four-time defending Shore Conference Tournament champion and second-ranked Rumson-Fair Haven, 16-14, on the road, the Rams did it by rallying from a three-goal deficit with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter.
That effort signified the first time in school history that the Rams have beat Rumson-Fair Haven, one of the storied boys lacrosse programs in the Shore Conference.
“Rumson-Fair Haven is a powerhouse, they are a great team,” Southern coach John Pampalone said. “We came up here with something to prove and we also know we are going to see them again down the line most likely. And it is going to be another war that day too.”
The Rams (4-0) rallied from two three-goal deficits in the second half to secure one of the most important wins in school history.
First, it was an 11-8 deficit with 5:44 left in the third quarter, which junior attackman Nick Simonelli solved with his game-tying goal with 2:56 left in the third quarter. Then, it was a 14-11 deficit with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter, which promoted Southern to go on a game-ending five-goal run for the victory.
“It is an awesome feeling knowing that this is the first time in our entire career that we beat Rumson. We are sky high right now and we’re just going to keep going,” Senior attackman Dylan Jinks said. “We just kind of held the ball and played more of Rumson-Fair Haven’s style and worked some time off the clock and then finished off great possessions with a goal.”
Jinks started that impressive game-ending run with an unassisted goal with 4:17 left then sophomore attackman Kyle Mulrane followed with a goal with 4:05 left, then Jinks scored again with 2:35 left to tie it at 14-14 before senior midfielder Chris Smith put an exclamation point on the game.
“Chris Smith did an outstanding job. He’s never faced off going into this year. He worked all summer, fall and winter on his game,” Pampalone said. “It was a tremendous edge and that’s how games are swung. We were able to go on a long run to finish this game because he kept winning the faceoff.”
Smith also scored the game-winning goal on a loose ball pick up near the net to give Southern the lead for good with 1:43 left. Jinks added an insurance goal with 1:07 left and the Rams held on for the victory.
“Everyone showed a lot of heart and gave 110 percent for all four quarters,” Smith said. “In the first half, I had two goals as a result of winning the faceoff. No one covered me off the faceoff and I just kept running (toward the goal) and fired away.”
Jinks led the way with his team-high six goal and he also had one assist. Meanwhile, Smith added three goals and two assists, junior attackman Nick Simonelli provided two goals and two assists and senior midfielder Shawn McManus recorded one goal and two assists. In addition, Mulrane and sophomore midfielder Will Johnson each had two goals and senior goalie Brendan Lefanto made 15 saves against 40 shots.
Rumson-Fair Haven (0-4) was led by Robert Garavente, who had six goals and two assists. Also, Griffin Schultz had three goals, Bryan Hess added two goals, Seamus Walsh and Henry Sillen each had one goal and one assist and goalie Kyle Knapp made 16 saves against 40 shots.
The loss snapped Rumson-Fair Haven’s 25-game winning streak against Shore Conference opponents. It was also Rumson-Fair Haven’s first loss to a Shore Conference opponent since the Bulldogs lost 8-6 at Jackson Memorial on April 8, 2013. And it was also Rumson-Fair Haven’s first home loss to a Shore Conference opponent since the Bulldogs lost 9-7 versus Red Bank Catholic on April 17, 2010.
Sherlon Christie: email@example.com