2021 Boys Lacrosse Shore Conference Tournament Final Preview: Rumson-Fair Haven vs. Manasquan
SHORE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
WHO: 2-Manasquan (13-2) at 1-Rumson-Fair Haven (16-0)
WHEN: Monday, May 31 at 11 a.m. (Postponed from Saturday)
WHERE: Borden Stadium at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
RUMSON'S ROAD TO THE SCT FINAL: defeated No. 17 St. Rose, 21-0, in the first round; defeated No. 9 Red Bank, 14-4, in the quarterfinals; defeated No. 4 Wall, 10-6, in the semifinals.,
MANASQUAN'S ROAD TO THE SCT FINAL: defeated No. 15 Ocean, 21-0, in the first round; defeated No, 7 Howell, 21-6; defeated No. 3 CBA, 8-6, in the semifinals.
RUMSON'S NOTABLE VICTORIES: 9-4 over Chatham; 13-6 over Bergen Catholic; 17-3 over Howell; 11-7 over St. Augustine; 16-2 over Shore; 12-2 over Ocean City; 10-3 over Ridge; 10-6 over Wall.
MANASQUAN'S NOTABLE VICTORIES: 15-5 over Monroe; 9-6 over Wall; 21-6 over Howell; 9-8 and 8-6 over Christian Brothers Academy.
RUMSON'S SCT HISTORY: Shore Conference-best six SCT championships (2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016); only program to win four in a row (2011-2014); has played in the SCT title game in 11 out of 15 tournaments; reached nine straight SCT finals from 2009-2017.
MANASQUAN'S SCT HISTORY: Three-time defending SCT champions; playing in fifth straight conference final; Runner-up in the inaugural SCT (2005);
RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN STAT LEADERS AND TOP DEFENDERS
-Patrick Jamin, Sr., M: 38 goals, 39 assists
-Luke Devlin, Sr., A: 38 goals, 19 assists
-Christian Bockelmann, Jr., A: 38 goals, 16 assists
-Cole Cashion, So., A: 25 goals, 17 assists
-Dan Garvey, Jr., A: 18 goals, 6 assists
-Philip Passalaqua, Jr., M 11 goals, 10 assists
-Bennett Raphalian, So. M: 9 goals, 4 assists
-Tommy Swain, Sr., FOGO: 167 wins, 74% winning percentage
-Ryan Croddick, Sr., G: 85 saves, 70% save percentage
-Jack Joyce, Sr., D
-Matthew Bockelmann, So., D: 4 goals
-Beau Kemler, So., D: 3 goals, 1 assist
-Luke Jamin, So., D/LSM: 1 goal
-John Lista, Jr., D/LSM
MANASQUAN STAT LEADERS AND TOP DEFENDERS
-Casey Mulligan, Sr., A: 52 goals, 25 assists
-Matt Porazzo, So., A: 33 goals, 8 assists
-Owen McCusker, Sr., A: 30 goals, 4 assists
-Mike Farinacci, Sr., M: 20 goals, 8 assists
-Robert Pendergist, Jr., M: 22 goals, 5 assists
-Hayden Grecsek, Sr., M: 20 goals, 4 assists
-James Farinacci, So., M: 10 goals, 1 assist
-Max Pauwels, Jr., FOGO: 236 wins, 83% win percentage
-Carter Groezinger, Jr., G: 69 saves, 58% save percentage
-Mike Farrell, Sr., D: 2 goals, 3 assists
-Ryan Bilello, Jr., D: 1 goal
-Dylan LeBlanc, Jr., D
-Chris Farinacci, Sr., D/LSM
-Bryce Ridge, Sr., D/LSM: 1 goal
Two Shore Conference powerhouses who are also among the best in New Jersey will collide once more on Saturday in the 2021 Shore Conference Tournament championship game.
Three-time defending champion Manasquan will try to continue its dynastic run, but to do so the Warriors will have to get through an undefeated Rumson-Fair Haven team that is putting together one of the best seasons in program history.
We'll start with the Bulldogs, who enter the game 16-0 and ranked No. 5 in the state by NJ.com. Rumson started off the season with some 'Wow' victories and has continued to make a statement ever since. After its 10-6 win over Wall in the semifinals, RFH now has five state top-20 wins this season, which includes victories over Chatham, Bergen Catholic, St. Augustine and Ridge. Their resume is top-notch and they are as battle-tested as maybe any Shore Conference team ever.
It's hard to find any weakness for Rumson, and for that matter, any obvious strength. They are exceptionally well-coached under veteran Marc Moreau and are very good across the board. The offensive is balanced and can strike from many areas but is led by senior midfielder Patrick Jamin, senior attackman Luke Devlin and junior attackman Christian Bockelmann. That trio has combined for 114 goals and 74 assists. And talk about balance; all three have 38 goals. Sophomore attackman Cole Cashion has provided another reliable offensive option with his 25 goals and 17 assists.
Defensively, Rumson has an excellent group led by senior goalie Ryan Croddick and senior defenseman Jack Joyce. The Bulldogs have an extremely impressive trio of sophomores in Matthew Bockelmann, Beau Kemler and Luke Jamin who have made their presence felt with their footwork, stick skills and versatility. Junior John Lista adds an athletic and physical dimension to the group.
Croddick is arguably the Shore's best goalie and maybe even the best in all of New Jersey this season. He has a sparkling 70% save percentage and can also press out in transition. He's been excellent across the board.
Rumson also has one of the area's best face-off specialists in senior Tommy Swain, who has won 74 percent of draws this season.
Manasquan hasn't had quite the season Rumson has in terms of marquee victories, but the Warriors are certainly having a very good year that can become great over the next week or so.
Manasquan is 13-2 with its losses coming in nonconference games to Seton Hall Prep (ranked No. 4 in NJ) and Montclair (ranked No. 12 in NJ). Following the disappointing 9-4 loss to Montclair on May 13, the Warriors have ripped off eight straight wins and seem to be playing their best lacrosse at both ends of the field.
The Warriors had a ton of turnover from their 2019 team that won a third straight SCT title and reached the Group 1 title game. At the start of the season, Manasquan was tasked with moving on from standouts like New Jersey's all-time scoring leader Canyon Birch, 200-point attackman Ryan Anderson, standout midfielders James Pendergist and Matt Franzoni, stud defenders Jack Fabean, Mike Page and Tommy Shaughnessy, star goalie Mike LaPoint and more. The cupboard was far from bare but the Warriors did need to figure some things out on the fly.
One of the few holdovers from the 2019 team is senior attackman Casey Mulligan, who was an impact player as a freshman and a sophomore and is now Manasquan's offensive leader with 52 goals and 25 assists. When the Warriors need a big play he seems to always have the answer. Junior midfielder Robert Pendergist brings a dynamic two-way presence to the top midfielder line and has enough offense in his game to make opponents pay. Senior Owen McCusker and sophomore Matt Porazzo are both 30-goal scorers and have complimented Mulligan well on the attack line. In the midfield, Manasquan has a deep rotation that, in addition to Pendergist, is lied by seniors Mike Farinacci and Hayden Grecsek.
At the face-off X, Manasquan has one of New Jersey's best in junior Max Pauwels, who has won 83 percent of his face-offs this season.
Manasquan's strength is on defense with an outstanding group of poles and a solid goalie to back it all up. Senior Mike Farrell and juniors Ryan Bilello and Dylan LeBlanc are all Division 1 recruits and provide head coach Sean Cunningham with the versatility to tailor matchups in a variety of ways. Seniors Chris Farinacci and Bryce Ridge rotate as LSM and both are also able to slide down in a close defense role if called upon. In goal is junior Carter Groezinger, who played well in both of Manasquan's wins over CBA with clutch saves late in the game.
These two programs have delivered some classics over the past five years. There have been games where Rumson has won convincingly while Manasquan has done the same in recent years, but for the most part, it has come down to the wire. Expect the same on Saturday before each begins its state championship quest.
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