LONG BRANCH -- The kings of Shore Conference lacrosse have reclaimed their throne.

Junior attackman Charlie Curran scored the go-ahead goal with 4:15 left in regulation and top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven added two more late goals to defeat second-seeded Manasquan, 8-5, and win the Shore Conference Tournament championship on Monday night at Long Branch High School.

The 2016 SCT title is the record sixth conference crown for Rumson (15-3), which was making its eighth straight championship game appearance in the 12-year history of the Shore Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs have won the SCT title in five of the last six seasons.

"It feels unbelievable," said senior attackman Robbie Garavente. "To get this team win, we've been working for this all year. To win a championship with all these guys as seniors is the best feeling in the world."

The Bulldogs had their streak of four consecutive SCT titles snapped last season in a loss to Southern in the championship game. They rebounded just fine with an epic state tournament run that culminated with the NJSIAA Group I title, the first state championship won by a Shore Conference boys lacrosse program. Losing their grip on the Shore Conference was still eating at them when this season started, however.

"It was heartbreaking last year, but now it's back where it belongs," said junior defenseman Emmett Jennings. "Last year took the wind out of our sails stopping the streak, but we knew we had a lot of guys coming back."

Curran's goal came after Manasquan had scored twice in a four-minute span on goals by James Pendergist and Devan Carroll to tie the game 5-5. Carroll's goal at 5:01 knotted the score, but senior Butch Clark won ensuring face-off to give Rumson possession. The Bulldogs wasted no time retaking the lead as Curran dodged to his left, rolled back to his right to free his hands and ripped a shot that found the back of the net.

Photo gallery by Robert Samuels

From there Rumson's tenacious defense put the clamps on Manasquan to secure another conference title. Throughout the season and in the Shore Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs' defense has been outstanding. They held Christian Brothers Academy and Manasquan to a combined nine goals in two games in the semifinals and final. With Jennings and fellow junior Dan Maloney, plus senior Ian Clarke as the defensemen, senior Kyle Knapp in goal and senior Lachlan Hull and sophomore Peter Lucas as outstanding defensive midfielders, Rumson's defense has been nearly impenetrable. There's also sophomore Stephen Edler and sophomore Thomas Bavuso to add depth.

"It's really impressive," Garavente said. "As an attackman I have the privilege of watching them work from the other side of the field. Just watching Kyle do his thing and watching Ian, Emmett and Dan run that defense, it's really the most valuable part of this team. Without them we would not be the same team."

"We can always trust them and they're always there making tremendous stops," Curran said. "Their one-on-one games in particular are very good and they talk a lot. They know where to go, two slides, three slides, and they're really good competitors. They took us to this championship."

Garavente led all scorers with three goals and senior attackman Griffin Schultz had one goal and one assist. Curran, juniors Colin Pavluk and Alex Werner, and sophomore Peter Lucas each scored once.

Rumson senior goalie Kyle Knapp made six saves in back of another outstanding defensive effort by the Bulldogs, which held the high-scoring Warriors (14-4) to just five goals. Junior defenseman Emmett Jennings had another tremendous game to lead the way.

Junior midfielder Pat Felstedt had two goals and junior attackman Jarrett Birch had one goal and one assist for Manasquan, which was seeking its first SCT title in the program's second championship game appearance and first since 2005. Junior goalie Tom Pollock made six saves.

 

BOX SCORE

1-Rumson-Fair Haven 8, 2-Manasquan 5

Manasquan (14-4) 1 1 1 2 -- 5

Rumson (15-3)      1 2 1 4 -- 8

GOALS - M: Pat Felstedt 2, Jarrett Birch, James Pendergist, Devan Carroll; R: Robbie Garavente 3, Griffin Shultz, Charlie Curran, Colin Pavluk, Alex Werner, Peter Lucas.

ASSISTS - M: Jarrett Birch, Canyon Birch; R: Griffin Schultz, Matt Waters.

SAVES - M: Tom Pollock 6; R: Kyle Knapp 6.

SHOTS: Rumson, 21-14.

 

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.