PENNINGTON – The Rumson-Fair Haven boys lacrosse team wasn’t about to let a little rain dampen its parade in the Group I final against Mountain Lakes on Wednesday.
After enduring over an hour worth of lightning delays, midfielder Charlie Curran scored the game-winner with 1:03 left in overtime to lead the Bulldogs to their first Group I championship with a 9-8 win over the Lakers.
“It’s awesome, we came into this game saying let’s make history and we got it done,” Curran said.
It was Rumson’s second appearance in the Group I final in three years, having lost to the Lakers in 2013. Mountain Lakes was in the hunt for its third-straight state title.
Rumson-Fair Haven trailed 6-4 with 3:10 in the second quarter when thunderstorms delayed the game. After returning to the field to finish the first half, attack Griffin Schultz scored his second of the game to pull the Bulldogs to within 6-5.
Midfielder Brynn Hess scored to open the third quarter and tied Mountain Lakes 6-6. With 7:14 to play junior attack Ryan Frawley scored on an assist from senior attack Brad Smith to give the Lakers back the lead, 7-6. Senior attack Zander Kotsen extended Mountain Lakes’ lead to 8-6 after three quarters.
The Bulldogs rallied in the fourth quarter with a goal from Schultz, then with 15 seconds remaining in the game midfielder Lucas Seckler scored on an assist from midfielder Matt Waters to tie the game 8-8.
“We expected a great game, they’re great every year,” Schultz said of the Lakers. “They always make it here, they’re used to winning so we had to give it our best game and we did.”
Mountain Lakes won the faceoff to start overtime and controlled the ball for almost a full two minutes before turning it over.
“It was a play gone wrong actually,” Curran said of the game-winner. “We called a play and everything just seemed to go wrong and I ended up with a man behind the cage and I just wanted it really bad so I took the opportunity. It was a great feeling, it’s unreal, it doesn’t feel real right now.”
Mountain Lakes took a 1-0 lead just 46 seconds into the game on a goal by senior midfielder Brad Landry. The Bulldogs tied it up with 6:13 left when attack Henry Sillen scored on an assist from Schultz.
The Lakers then rolled off three unanswered goals in the final 5:35 to take a 4-1 lead after the first quarter.
Seckler scored less than two minutes into the second quarter to pull Rumson-Fair Haven to within 4-2, but Frawley connected with Smith for his second goal of the game to put Mountain Lakes ahead 5-2 with 9:41 left in the half.
Waters and Schultz then scored back-to-back goals to get the Bulldogs to within one, 5-4, with 3:23 left, but Smith scored his second of the game 13 seconds later to put the Lakers ahead 6-4.
“It’s a great group of seniors,” Mountain Lakes coach Tim Flynn said.
Staff Writer Lauren Knego: 973-428-6674; firstname.lastname@example.org