Boys Lacrosse: St. John Vianney Downs St. Rose to Reach SCT Semifinals for First Time in Program History
HOLMDEL — When Ryan Gilfillan, Andrew Porretta and the rest of St. John Vianney’s senior class entered the school as freshman the boys lacrosse program had zero history in regards to the Shore Conference Tournament. Four years later they’ve made the first entries into the Lancers’ record book.
Gilfillan scored four goals while Porretta had two goals and four assists on Tuesday when No. 6 St. John Vianney held off No. 14 St. Rose, 10-6, in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. Three days after earning the program’s first ever SCT win, the Lancers one-upped themselves by reaching the SCT Final Four for the first time ever.
“We’ve been working for this all season and the seniors wanted it so bad,” Gilfillan said. “The first one was big and being in the semifinals is huge. You couldn’t ask for anything better.”
“We never even had a win in the Shore Conference Tournament coming into this year, and our freshman year was the first time we were ever in the tournament,” Porretta said. “We knew we had a lot of talent in this class. We’ve been working toward this for four years and we wanted to go out with a bang, so to get to the Final Four is awesome. Now we get to try and pull the upset.”
St. John Vianney will play No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven, the defending SCT champion, in a semifinal game at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Long Branch High School. The teams met in the regular season with Rumson winning 16-4.
Senior attackman Chris Kelly added a hat trick while senior attackman Tino D’Amore scored once. Long stick midfielder James Guilbert picked up a game-high seven ground balls and sophomore goalie C.J. Hanson had one of his best games of the season with 12 saves.
Hanson made several difficult saves that helped the Lancers maintain their lead on the Purple Roses, and also had a memorable clear that didn’t end until the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Hanson plowed through half of St. Rose’s team and registered a shot on goal. Not bad for a converted defenseman playing in his first year as a goalie.
“He stepped up today and had a really good game,” St. John Vianney head coach Mike Dowd said of Hanson. “He had been struggling a big lately but today he was awesome.”
“If he doesn’t play that way we might lose this game,” Gilfillan said. “It’s his first year playing and over the course of the season he’s played great for us.”
Senior attackman Chris Bormida led St. Rose with four goals while senior goalie Robbie Brugnoli made 13 saves. Alex Phipps and Griffin McDermott had one goal each for the Purple Roses, who were coming off the biggest upset in SCT history when they shocked No. 3 Southern, 8-7, on Saturday.
The Lancers’ initial reaction to hearing the news of Southern’s ouster may have been excitement, but they quickly understood they would instead be facing an opponent riding high and full of confidence.
“We didn’t think it was going to be easy at all,” Porretta said. “Obviously if they’re good enough to beat Southern they’re good enough to play with anyone in the Shore. We went in there with our regular mentality and played our hearts out.”
“We talked about how it didn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s a playoff game and that means it’s going to be a different kind of game,” Dowd said. “This team just knocked off Southern, and I saw them on film and talked to people. They’re a good team and it was a battle today that could have gone either way.”
Porretta gave St. John Vianney a 1-0 lead off a pass from freshman midfielder Matt Franzoni at 7:40 of the first quarter, but St. Rose came back with goals by Bormida and McDermott to take a 2-1 lead. The Lancers closed the first quarter on a goal by Kelly, a man-up goal by Gilfillan and an unassisted goal by D’Amore to take a 4-2 lead into the second quarter.
St. John Vianney was called for an illegal stick during the between-quarters stick check and assessed a three-minute, non-releasable penalty to start the second quarter. The Lancers’ man-down defense came through in the clutch to not only keep St. Rose from scoring, but also delivering the ball to the offense which killed off most of the penalty in the St. Rose zone.
St. Rose was called for a penalty at 9:17, and a mere 15 seconds after St. John Vianney’s penalty expired and the Lancers’ went on a man-up of their own, Gilfillan took a give-and-go pass from Porretta and blasted one past Brugnoli for a 5-2 lead.
“That was huge for momentum so they couldn’t get going,” Porretta said.
St. Rose got one back when Bormida scored an extra-man goal off a pass from Mike Kinsel, making it 5-3 at halftime.
Gilfillan extended St. John Vianney’s lead to 6-3 early in the third quarter before St. Rose scored twice to get within 6-5. Bormida scored his third of the game at 7:32 and Phipps was credited for a goal when his stick check knocked the ball away from a St. John Vianney defender and it bounced into the open cage.
The Lancers, however, would close the quarter with goals by Porretta and Gilfillan in the final 2:47 to get back to a three-goal cushion at 8-5. Kelly’s goal off a pass from freshman midfielder Anthony Brett then put the Lancers up 9-5 with 5:53 left in the game. Bormida scored his fourth at 2:45 but Brett won the ensuing face-off and the Lancers were able to run out the clock. Kelly’s goal with one second left provided the final margin of victory.
Now it’s onto the SCT semifinals where defending champion Rumson awaits. The Lancers are the clear underdog, but after seeing some of the upsets that have occurred this season they can enter with hope.”
“We got this far so we’re just trying to go all the way,” Gilfillan said.
St. John Vianney 10, St. Rose 6
St. Rose (10-6) 2 1 2 1 — 6
St. John Vianney (10-7) 4 1 3 2 — 10
GOALS — StR: Chris Bormida 4, Griffin McDermott, Alex Phipps; SJV: Ryan Gilfillan 4, Chris Kelly 3, Andrew Porretta 2, Tino D’Amore 1.
ASSISTS — StR: Mike Kinsel; SJV: Andrew Porretta 4, Anthony Brett 2, Matt Franzoni 2.
SAVES — StR: Robbie Brugnoli 13; SJV: C.J. Hanson 12.
SHOTS: St. John Vianney, 27-23.
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