2014 Shore Sports Network Coach of the Year

Ryan Dalon, Barnegat


The early years of Barnegat’s lacrosse program were lean, to say the least. In the program’s first five seasons the Bengals won just eight games, and even when they turned it around in 2012 with their first winning season, they were never viewed as a legitimate threat.

That changed in a big way in 2014.

Barnegat set a team record for wins by going 13-3, finishing second in the Shore Conference’s Class A South division to Group IV finalist Southern while also winning the first Shore Conference Tournament game in program history. Head coach Ryan Dalon coached through those tough times, slowing building the program into a unit the rest of the Shore had to respect.

In recognition of Barnegat’s breakout season, Dalon has been selected as the Shore Sports Network Shore Conference Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

The Bengals began the season 11-0, which included wins over division rivals Jackson Memorial and Lacey. In the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament, Barnegat went on the road as the No. 10 seed and defeated No. 7 Wall, 12-10, for the program’s most significant victory to date. It proved the Bengals could do more than just dominate the weaker teams in Ocean County. Barnegat would lose to Southern, 11-2, in the next round, but came back a week later and nearly stunned the Rams in the A South title game before falling 9-8 in overtime.

Barnegat succeeded with a balanced scoring attack and contributions from players of all ages. The program will graduate five senior starters, but returns standout midfielders Ricky Gerena and J.J. McKenna, along with up-and-coming attackman Ryan Reynolds.

The dark ages are well behind Barnegat, and the future looks plenty bright.