Boys Lacrosse Tournament of Champions Semifinals Preview: Rumson-Fair Haven vs. Bridgewater-Raritan
NJSIAA BOYS LACROSSE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SEMIFINALS
WHO: 1-Rumson-Fair Haven (21-4) vs. 4-Bridgewater-Raritan (18-3)
WHEN: Wednesday, June 8, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Borden Stadium at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
RUMSON'S ROAD TO THE T of C SEMIFINALS: Defeated Oakcrest, 19-1, in the South Group 2 first round; defeated Cranford, 18-1, in the quarterfinals; defeated Hopewell Valley, 14-2, in the semifinals; defeated Manasquan, 17-6, in the South Group 2 sectional final; defeated Summit, 9-5, in the Group 2 state final; first-round bye in the T of C quarterfinals.
BRIDGEWATER'S ROAD TO THE T of C SEMIFINALS: Defeated Passaic Tech, 23-1, in the North Group 4 first round; defeated Montclair, 11-8, in the quarterfinals; defeated Ridgewood, 9-6, in the semifinals; defeated Hunterdon Central, 10-6, in the North Group 4 sectional final; defeated Southern Regional, 8-6, in the Group 4 state finals; defeated Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 15-8, in the T of C quarterfinals.
RUMSON'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Six sectional titles, two group titles (2015, 2022)
BRIDGEWATER'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Seven group championships (1998, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016); thre T of C titles (2011, 2012, 2015).
RUMSON'S BEST WINS: 12-0 over South Group 4 finalist Lenape; 12-4 over Group 4 champion Bridgewater-Raritan; 12-7 over Wall; 16-6 over CBA; 14-3 over Shore Regional; 17-6 over Howell; 16-2 over Ocean City; 17-6 over Manasquan; 9-5 over Summit in Group 2 final.
BRIDGEWATER'S BEST WINS: 8-7 over Pingry; 15-10 over Ridge; 12-6 over Bernards; 11-8 over Montclair; 9-6 over Ridgewood; 10-6 over Hunterdon Central in North Group 4 final; 8-6 over Southern Regional in Group 4 final; 15-8 over Scotch Plains-Fanwood in T of C quarterfinals.
RUMSON'S PROJECTED STARTERS/KEY RESERVES
-Cole Cashion, Jr., A/M: 53 goals, 22 assists
-Quinn Stankovits, Jr., A: 54 goals, 13 assists
-Christian Bocklemann, Sr., A: 9 goals, 8 assists (injured for most of the season)
-Grayson Goldin, Fr., A: 19 goals, 8 assists
-Tommy French, Sr., M: 34 goals, 24 assists
-Philip Passalaqua, Sr., M: 32 goals, 7 assists
-Noah Beacher, Sr., FOGO: 117-for-184, 64%
-Matthew Bockelmann, Jr., LSM: 4 goals
-Beau Kemler, Jr., D: 5 goals, 3 assists
-Luke Jamin, Jr., D
-Will Rehder, Jr., D: 2 goals
-Will Setteducate, Jr., G: 107 saves, 64%
-Connor Spagnuola, Sr., A: 33 goals, 5 assists
-Dan Garvey, Sr., A: 6 goals, 4 assists
-Bryce Devlin, Jr., A: 14 goals, 9 assists
-Jack McCarren, Sr., M: 9 goals, 5 assists
-Andy Croddick, Sr., M: 11 goals, 3 assists
-Zach Iwan, Jr., SSDM: 4 goals
BRIDGEWATER'S STAT LEADERS/KEY PLAYERS
-Brady Kurdyla, Sr., A: 63 goals, 42 assists
-Colin Kurdyla, Jr., M: 65 goals, 26 assists (potentially out with an injury)
-Matt Maciolek, Jr., M: 26 goals, 31 assists
-Kyle Holmes, Sr., A: 34 goals, 11 assists
-Tom Tremarco, Jr., A: 22 goals, 19 assists
-Alex Delierre, Jr., A: 11 goals, 2 assists
-Matt Cuzzola, Sr., FOGO: 133-for-156, 85%; 87 ground balls
-Daine Kostes, M/FOGO: 85-for-113, 75%; 8 goals, 10 assists, 71 ground balls
-Will Kasica, Jr., G: 123 saves, 53%.
-Matt Bratus, Jr., LSM/D
-Luke Cifuentes, Jr., D
-Ryan Harper, Sr., D
-Nichlas Jankowski, Sr., D
-Jonathan Mock, Sr., D/LSM
THE BOTTOM LINE:
When Rumson rallied to defeat Summit, 9-5, and win the NJSIAA Group 2 state championship on Friday, the Bulldogs joined the 2015 RFH squad as the only Shore Conference boys lacrosse teams to win a state championship. Next, they'll try to add the ultimate page to the program's record book.
2022 marks the final iteration of the NJSIAA's Tournament of Champions across all sports that used the tournament to play down to a single team champion. After Rumson's first group title the Bulldogs were seeded sixth and lost to Summit, 7-0, in the quarterfinals. This team has already surpassed that to become the most accomplished boys lacrosse team in Shore Conference history. If Rumson can defeat Bridgewater-Raritan, which it has already done this season, it will take the drive to Mount Olive on Sunday to play for the title of the undisputed No. 1 team in New Jersey.
Rumson and Bridgewater met on April 18 with the Bulldogs earning a thorough 12-4 victory. Does that result matter come Wednesday night? Not entirely, but from a tactical standpoint, there will surely be factors from that initial meeting that both teams will look to parlay into success in the T of C semifinals. One important caveat to that is one major personnel change for each team. Bridgewater may be without the services of standout junior midfielder and Rutgers commit Colin Kurdyla, who suffered an injury during the Group 4 final and did not play in the Panthers' T of C quarterfinal win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Conversely, Rumson now has star senior attackman Christian Bockelmann back after the Yale commit missed 19 games with a broken thumb.
Rumson's offense has been electric, its defense has been rock-solid, and goalie Will Setteducate has made big saves at key moments. And in all phases, the Bulldogs have been able to answer the call in clutch situations. Add to that an elite coaching staff led by veteran Marc Moreau, and Rumson has everything it needs to win it all. All that's left is to do it on the field, and their journey continues on Wednesday night.