Dawg Days: Rumson boys lacrosse captures second straight South Jersey Group 2 title
Despite graduating a large and excellent senior class and entering the 2018 season with a young and talented, yet inexperienced, roster, Rumson-Fair Haven's boys lacrosse set out to challenge some of the best teams in the state.
The results early in the season were not totally unexpected with losses to teams like Chatham, Watchung Hills and Seton Hall Prep. But head coach Marc Moreau's plan was to get his team seasoned and ready to defend its sectional title, and on Saturday the Bulldogs' trials and tribulations were rewarded with another piece of hardware.
Rowan Goldin and Patrick Jamin each scored twice with one assist while Wyatt Feinberg, Kiel Forlenza, Sam Mannino and Drew Shaw also scored two goals each as the Bulldogs (15-9) defeated the Somerville, 12-6, at Borden Stadium to capture their second straight NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 title.
Rumson will next take on Summit in the NJSIAA Group 2 state championship game at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Shore Regional High School.
Rumson jumped out to a 5-2 lead after the first quarter and pushed its advantage to 7-2 at halftime. Somerville scored three times in the third quarter to close the gap to 8-5, but the Bulldogs closed strong with four goals over the final 12 minutes to wrap up the program's fourth state sectional championship.
Rumson's season began 1-5 with losses to Chatham, Watchung Hills, Westfield and Seton Hall Prep -- all top 20 teams in the NJ.com rankings. An overtime loss to Southern dropped the Bulldogs to 1-5 and in that game, Rumson lost standout senior defenseman Stephen Edler to a shoulder injury. The team regrouped, however, winning seven of their next eight games, including a thrilling 12-11 victory over Massachusetts school Concord-Carlisle.
Following a pair of nonconference losses, the Bulldogs picked up wins over Jackson Memorial and Wall in the Shore Conference Tournament as Edler returned to the lineup to bolster the defense. Rumson was eliminated from the SCT via a loss to Christian Brothers Academy in the semifinals, but it was evident how much the team had improved. The Bulldogs were seeded No. 2 in the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs, but for anyone who had seen them play recently it was fairly obvious they remained the favorite.
Their state tournament run began with a dominant 18-2 win over Lawerence. They pulled away from Lacey in the second half of the quarterfinals for a 17-11 win, then defeated Wall again, 9-6, to reach their sixth straight sectional championship game. The Bulldogs then finished off another title run by taking down the Pioneers.
Now it's onto another state title game against a powerful Hilltoppers squad ranked No. 2 in New Jersey. Rumson is the underdog, no question, but with the schedule the Bulldogs played this season one thing is certain: they'll be ready.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.