Suffocating Defense Leads Rumson-Fair Haven to Convincing Win over CBA
RUMSON — Since a season-opening loss to one of the top programs in the country, Rumson-Fair Haven has come back to the Shore Conference and dominated two of its biggest rivals, the latest being a thorough victory over a longtime foe on Monday night.
A suffocating defensive effort led the way for the Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, as they defeated fourth-ranked Christian Brothers Academy, 9-1, in a marquee Shore Conference nondivisional game at Borden Stadium. Senior defenseman Emmett Jennings and senior goalie Conor Deverin led a defense that limited the Colts to 14 shots and held them scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter.
Senior midfielder Bryan Hess paced the offense with three goals while senior attackman Alex Werner assumed the role of playmaker with four assists to go along with one goal. Charlie Curran and Oliver Heins each notched a goal and an assist while Garrett Sweeley, Ryan Tuorto and Colin Pavluk each scored once.
“Playing IMG was a great experience to get out there and compete with them,” Hess aid. ‘These last two games we really pushed being aggressive and playing fast. Our attack was riding like crazy and our defense was playing aggressive all over their hands. Our goalie Conor Deverin was outstanding and on offense everyone was involved.”
“It wasn’t the cleanest game, but we have a tremendous number of athletes and it would be a disservice to them if we didn’t just let them go out and make plays,” said Rumson head coach Marc Moreau, a veteran and respected coach from his days at Bernards and St. Joseph (Metuchen) who is in his first season leading the Bulldogs.
“A lot of what we do isn’t scripted. They are going out there and competing and playing hard. There’s a system and a framework we’re doing it within, but they are going out there and making plays and recognizing things on their own.”
Junior attackman Michael Carroll had the only goal for CBA, which came with 5:43 left in the game. Colts senior goalie Ryan McGuiness made 12 saves.
A hard drive and bounce shot by Hess 3:55 into the game staked Rumson (2-1) to a 1-0 lead and set the stage for a three-goal first quarter. Werner scored off an assist by Curran at 5:51 and Sweeley was the benefactor of crisp ball movement to make it 3-0 with 1:40 left in the opening period.
The second quarter was more of the same, although this time CBA was able to generate some offensive chances. Deverin came up with three big saves to keep the Colts off the board and Tuorto scored off a quick pass from X by Werner to give Rumson a 4-0 halftime lead.
“It’s not like CBA didn’t have any looks or opportunities early on,” Moreau said. “Conor bailed us out more than a few times in the first half. You get people flying around the field and a goalie that is going to make saves and it gives those guys confidence. They know someone will pick them up.”
“Coach lets us play aggressive and cause mayhem,” Jennings said. “We’re all pretty good athletes and we like getting on the other players’ hands. Conor is a good safety net for us in that he allows us to play aggressive. We know if they get shots off he’ll save them.”
Early in the third quarter Heins took advantage of a dropped pass by picking up the ground ball, racing into the CBA zone and dishing to a cutting Pavluk, who scored to give Rumson a 5-0 lead. CBA would get a few solid looks in the third, but Deverin made three saves to keep the shutout going.
Heins scored 2:40 into the fourth quarter off another good feed from X by Werner before Hess cut into the box and rifled one past McGuiness to extend Rumson’s lead to 7-0. Carroll got CBA on the board a few minutes later, but goals by Hess and Curran in the final four minutes closed out the victory.
“Even though we were up, playing CBA it always feels close,” Hess aid. “It’s a good rivalry. Hats off to them. The score might not have shown it but they were in it and playing hard.”
The new-found aggressive nature of Rumson’s play took form in all areas of the field. The Bulldogs’ offensive possessions were still patient, but featured plenty of ball movement. Six of Rumson’s goals were assisted. A deep and athletic group of midfielders teamed with the attackmen for a relentless ride that forced CBA into multiple turnovers.
“Coach Moreau is definitely emphasizing the athleticism on the team and that’s why we’re able to do that type of stuff,” Hess said. “It gives us a lot of opportunities and is a big edge.”
“Any coach with half a brain that sees the athletes out in front of you like this, I don’t know there’s any other way to go out and play,” Moreau said.
The aforementioned defense led by Jennings and also featuring standout senior Dan Maloney and junior Stephen Edler is arguably the top unit in the Shore Conference. They have been lights out in the last two games and feel they can be even better.
“Their isn’t a lot of people that can flat-out run by them,” Moreau said. “We do some things, schematically, on the defensive side of the ball that allows them to take advantage of it, but if they couldn’t physically do it and have the lacrosse IQ to make the right decision off ball then it wouldn’t look like it does now.”
“All the credit goes to them. I wish it was a real technical scheme I drew up and that’s why it works, but these guys are going out there and making it happen. And I still think we can play better. There were shots we gave up that Conor bailed us out on.”
As Moreau sees it, the most room for growth is on the offensive end. That’s a pretty scary thought for Rumson’s future opponents.
“We have a long way to go on the offensive end of the field, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Moreau said. “I couldn’t be happier with the effort they bring every single day.”
No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven 9, No. 4 CBA 1
CBA (0-2) 0 0 0 1 -- 1
RFH (2-1) 3 1 1 4 -- 9
GOALS -- CBA: Michael Carroll; RFH: Bryan Hess 3, Alex Werner, Garrett Sweeley, Ryan Tuorto, Oliver Heins, Charlie Curran, Colin Pavluk.
ASSISTS -- RFH: Alex Werner 4, Charlie Curran, Oliver Heins.
SAVES -- CBA: Ryan McGuiness 12; RFH: Conor Deverin 9.
SHOTS: Rumson, 35-14.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.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.