LONG BRANCH -- Riding an outstanding defensive performance and using some clutch goals in the second half, top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven put itself in a familiar position with a classic win over an old rival.

The Bulldogs (14-3) outlasted fourth-seeded Christian Brothers Academy, 6-4, in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Long Branch High School. Senior attackman Robbie Garavente scored three goals, senior attackman Henry Sillen had two goals and one assist and senior goalie Kyle Knapp made 15 saves to backstop a remarkable defensive effort against a red-hot CBA offense that propelled Rumson to its eighth straight SCT championship game.

Rumson celebrates Charlie Curran's goal in the fourth quarter of a 6-4 win over CBA in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. (Photo by Robert Badders).

The Bulldogs will play second-seeded Manasquan at 6 p.m. on Monday at Long Branch High School where they will go for their sixth conference championship.

Junior attackman Charlie Curran also had a goal and junior defenseman Dan Maloney picked up four ground balls, including a key pickup late in the game. Rumson was clinging to a 5-4 lead and CBA had possession, but Maloney was able to pick up the loose ball after a pass was mishandled at the restraining line. He raced across midfield where Rumson called timeout with 1:55 remaining.

Garavente had a free look and a chance to give the Bulldogs a two-goal lead with around one minute left, but his shot hit off both posts before caroming out to midfield. CBA would get the ball back with under 30 seconds to start a wild finish. Knapp made a crucial save late, and Rumson's defense thwarted one last sequence by the Colts before Sillen scored into an empty net with just 0.4 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Senior midfielder John Salcedo led CBA with one goal and one assist. Ryan Madalone, Nick Casner and Connor Macrae each scored once and junior goalie Ryan McGuiness made five saves.

CBA had a major possession advantage in the first half as senior Chris Hayes went 9-for-13 on draws and the Colts held a 15-4 shots advantage. Rumson made its attempts count, however, and led 3-2 at halftime on two goals by Garavente and one by Sillen. Garavente scored again in the third quarter to push the lead to 4-2, and Curran netted an unassisted goal in the fourth to make it 5-2.

CBA would rally as Salcedo scored unassisted midway through the fourth to make it 5-3, and Casner scored with 2:50 left to pull the Colts within one and set up the tense finish.

 

BOX SCORE

1-Rumson-Fair Haven 6, 4-Christian Brothers Academy 4

CBA (11-6)       1 1 0 2 -- 4

Rumson (13-3) 1 2 1 2 -- 6

GOALS -- CBA: Salcedo, Madalone, Macrae, Casner; RFH: Garavente 3, Sillen 2, Curran.

ASSISTS -- CBA: Salcedo; RFH: Sillen, Schultz.

SAVES -- CBA: R. McGuiness 5; RFH: Knapp 15.

SHOTS: CBA, 27-19.

 

Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at badders@allshoremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.