Matt Lynch’s OT Goal Sends Red Bank into Boys Lacrosse Shore Conference Tournament Quarterfinals
HOLMDEL -- Matt Lynch knew he was open and had a clean look at the goal, but with the clocking ticking toward triple zeroes in the first overtime period, he could only hope Trey Lynch would be able to find him.
Double overtime looked like a sure bet on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon at Bob Roggy Field, but with seconds on the clock, Trey Lynch flung a long pass from X to the stick of Matt Lynch, who stepped into a shot from 12 yards out and ripped it into the back of the net as time expired to give ninth-seeded Red Bank a scintillating 8-7 overtime victory over eighth-seeded Holmdel in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
"I hoped he saw me, I was calling his name and he looked up and just flung it," Matt Lynch said. "I was ready for it and I put it away. At first, I thought the goalie made the save but then I saw the back of the net move, and, yeah, I was pretty happy."
"They beat us on senior night and we were extremely upset, so to beat them in overtime with a second left feels fantastic," said senior defenseman Sean Masonius.
Red Bank will almost certainly play top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the quarterfinals, but Rumson still has to play its first-round game against the winner of Monday's preliminary round game between Barnegat and Brick Memorial.
Matt Lynch, a senior midfielder, finished with two goals and one assist for Red Bank while junior attackman Ryder Villani and sophomore attackman/midfielder Andrew Pape each scored three goals. Trey Lynch had two assists and Matt Kelly had one assist. Junior goalie Gavin Lisko finished with seven saves, including key stops at the end of regulation and in overtime, while Masonius had an active game with multiple caused turnovers and ground balls.
Even more impressive was the Bucs' getting the win without standout junior Henry Spencer, who was the team leader in goals and points heading into the day. He suffered a minor injury during a win over Princeton last week and aims to be back for the state tournament.
"We're not very deep so it's hard to say next man up, but we had guys who answered the call today," said Red Bank head coach Andy Eastwood.
Sophomore attackman Will Gilfillan had three goals and one assist and senior midfielder Aidan Lagana also scored three times to lead Holmdel. Senior middie Jaden Gallo scored once, senior attackman Kyle Kapcsos had two assists, and freshman FOGO Jack Powers continued his strong season by winning 15 of 18 at the face-off X. Junior goalie Andrew Arredondo had another solid game with eight total saves.
In a rematch of a regular-season game won by Holmdel, 9-8, last week, Red Bank (9-5) started fast to lead 3-1 after the first quarter and 5-1 at halftime. Gilfillan got the scoring started at 9:16 of the opening quarter but the Bucs answered with five straight goals to take a four-goal lead. Pape scored at 4:11, Villani scored off a setup from Matt Lynch and 2:38 and then scored again with just two seconds on the clock off a pass from Trey Lynch.
The second quarter was more of the same from Red Bank as Pape scored 2:10 into the quarter for a 4-1 advantage. With time winding down in the first half, Villani struck again in short time when he whistled a shot past Arredondo with only one second left, giving Red Bank a 5-1 halftime cushion.
"I think - in the first half especially - it was our effort," Masonius said. "We worked hard for ground balls and turnovers and we were able to transition pretty well and get the ball to our offense."
Holmdel scored the only goal of the third quarter when Lagana took a pass from Gilfillan and scored a man-up goal at the 6:35 mark. The Hornets closed the gap to 5-3 with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter when Lagana scored again, this time off a feed from Kapcsos. Red Bank had a swift response, however, as Pape netted his third of the game at 8:05 and Lynch tallied at 7:43 to re-establish the Bucs' four-goal lead. And with under four minutes left in regulation, they looked well on their way to a revenge victory.
But in lacrosse, few leads are safe. Comebacks can happen at any time, especially when you have a dominant face-off ace. With Powers continually winning face-offs, Holmdel had its share of possessions and started to cash in when Gallo scored an unassisted goal with 3:25 left in regulation. That strike ignited a four-goal run for Holmdel that forced overtime. Gilfillan scored an unassisted goal at 2:54 and Lagana completed his hat trick when he scored off a pass from Kapcsos with 1:59 to play. Powers won the ensuing face-off, dumped it off to Jared Battaglia, and he got the ball to Gilfillan on the left wing. Realizing he had time and space, Gilfillan stepped into a shot and buried it high over the stick of Lisko to knot the game at seven with 1:46 on the clock.
Powers won the next face-off and Holmdel had two quality looks at the net, but Lisko came up with two clutch saves in the final minute to send the game to overtime. The overtime face-off was again won by Powers and Holmdel head coach Brendan Quinn called an immediate timeout to set up a play. Gallo sent a bounce shot on goal but Lisko was able to re-direct it with his stick. He then made a huge save on Kapcsos, who drove in for a shot from just five yards out.
"He was the reason we stayed in it, honestly," Matt Lynch said. "Gavin came up clutch in the end and saved the shots we needed."
"Matt Lynch got the final goal but (Gavin) saved it for us," Masonius said.
Red Bank eventually regained possession after a blocked shot and a ground ball and turned the other way in transition. Matt Lynch had his pass intercepted, however, but he raced back into the defensive zone to pick off a Holmdel pass and get the ball right back. Red Bank then called timeout to set up the final possession where Lynch netted the game-winner.
"He plays 80 yards, offense, defense; he's a warrior," Eastwood said of Matt Lynch. He did a great job today. You love kids like that, you wish you had 10 of them."
The Shore Conference Tournament is very top-heavy and has been since its inception in 2005. SCT wins are hard to come by because a team is either facing a juggernaut or an evenly-matched opponent where a goal or two is often the difference. A victory like Red Bank was able to earn on Saturday is meaningful, especially for a program trying to build itself into a consistent contender.
"Last year was our first time in the SCT in a while so to make it again and advance this time, it feels great," Masonius said.
"There's a lot of parity in the middle of the pack and anytime you can advance it's a positive for the program," Eastwood said. "It sends a message to all the young guys in the community who we hope will all become Bucs someday."
9-Red Bank 8, 8-Holmdel 7 (OT)
Red Bank (9-5) 3 2 0 2 1 -- 8
Holmdel (10-6) 1 0 1 5 0 -- 7
GOALS -- RBR: Ryder Villani 3, Andrew Pape 3, Matt Lynch 2; H: Will Gilfillan 3, Aidan Lagana 3, Jaden Gallo.
ASSISTS -- RBR: Trey Lynch 2, Matt Lynch, Matt Kelly; H: Kyle Kapcsos 2, Will Gilfillan.
SAVES -- RBR: Gavin Lisko 7; H: Andrew Arredondo 8.
SHOTS -- Holmdel 23-22.
Red Bank vs. Holmdel Boys Lacrosse SCT