Back on Top: Rumson-Fair Haven girls lacrosse wins its 10th Shore Conference Tournament title
WEST LONG BRANCH -- After having its incredible Shore Conference Tournament streak halted last season, Rumson-Fair Haven's girls lacrosse team was determined to return to Monmouth University and prove that defeat was only a temporary setback.
On Monday afternoon, they made good on that promise to themselves.
Sophomore Rachel James delivered three goals and one assist, junior Abby Boyle scored twice and posted seven draw controls, and senior goalie Kayse Kiernan made six saves as the Bulldogs built a first-half lead and held off rival Red Bank for a 9-7 victory in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game at Hesse Field.
Diasen Iwan added a goal and three assists while Paige Cecil, Payton Haley, and Elliot Van Nice had one goal each. Jackie Braceland assisted on two goals and senior defender Janey Sypeck had two forced turnovers and two ground balls.
After winning eight straight SCT titles from 2013-2019 and again in 2021 (there was no tournament in 2020), Rumson fell to Trinity Hall in last season's final. Now, the Bulldogs are back on top with the program's Shore Conference record 10th SCT trophy.
"We were so upset last year, honestly," Boyle said. "We didn't think we were going to lose like that last so coming back on this field today, we wanted to make a move. We fed into that energy and it showed."
"Last year was a crush for everybody but we learned from that," said Rumson head coach Amy O'Keefe. "This crew is a huge senior class and I know they wanted to get it done."
Red Bank was making its first SCT championship game appearance and took a 1-0 lead when senior midfielder Marley Victor converted a pass from freshman Karlie Ruland at 15:36. Rumson answered just over a minute later on a goal by James and that goal ignited a seven-goal run that gave the Bulldogs a 7-2 halftime advantage.
Senior midfielder Molly Wood scored for Red Bank late in the first half and the Bucs came out hot in the third quarter to pull within two goals. Standout senior midfielder Paige Kelly was shut out in the first half but found her groove in the second half with five total goals to bring her season total to 103.
After her goal 1:13 into the second half, Rumson answered on a goal by Van Nice to make it 8-3. Kelly then scored three straight goals to cut Rumson's lead to 8-6 with 15:03 to play. That was as close as the Bucs would get, however. James scored off an assist from Iwan with 5:34 to play, Kelly responded with a goal on an 8-mater shot at 3:12, and James scored her third of the day and 10th of her career with two minutes left to provide the final 9-7 margin of victory.