NJSIAA Boys Lacrosse Group 2 Championship Preview: Rumson-Fair Haven vs. Summit
NJSIAA BOYS LACROSSE GROUP 2 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
WHO: Rumson-Fair Haven (20-4) vs. Summit (16-2)
WHEN: Wednesday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Basilone Memorial Field at Bridgewater-Raritan High School
RUMSON'S ROAD TO THE STATE FINAL: 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 sectional final.
SUMMIT'S ROAD TO THE STATE FINAL: Defeated River Dell, 16-1, in the North Group 2 first round; defeated Vernon, 15-1, in the quarterfinals; defeated Sparta, 9-2, in the semifinals; defeated West Essex, 10-6, in the sectional final.
RUMSON'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Six sectional titles, 1 group title (2015.
SUMMIT'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: 12 overall state titles, T.O.C. champions in 2009 and 2010.
RUMSON'S BEST WINS: 12-0 over South Group 4 finalist Lenape; 12-4 over North Group 4 champion Bridgewater-Raritan; 12-7 over Wall; 16-6 over CBA; 14-3 over Shore; 17-6 over Howell; 16-2 over Ocean City; 17-6 over Manasquan.
SUMMIT'S BEST WINS: 11-10 and 13-2 over Westfield; 8-3 over Seton Hall Prep; 9-3 over Pope John; 9-6 over Chatham; 12-2 over Montclair; 7-6 over Ridgewood; 10-6 over West Essex.
RUMSON'S PROJECTED STARTERS/KEY RESERVES
-Cole Cashion, Jr., A/M: 52 goals, 19 assists
-Quinn Stankovits, Jr., A: 51 goals, 13 assists
-Christian Bocklemann, Sr., A: 8 goals, 7 assists (injured for most of the season)
-Grayson Goldin, Fr., A: 18 goals, 8 assists
-Tommy French, Sr., M: 32 goals, 23 assists
-Philip Passalaqua, Sr., M: 31 goals, 6 assists
-Noah Beacher, Sr., FOGO: 111-for-167, 66%
-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: 102 saves, 65%
-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
SUMMIT'S STAT LEADERS/KEY PLAYERS
-Dylan Sebastian, Sr., A: 43 goals, 33 assists
-John Murray, Sr., M: 46 goals, 13 assists
-Daniel Flaim, So., A: 21 goals, 13 assists
-Colin Beatty, Sr., M: 22 goals, 10 assists
-Will Klein, Sr., G: 123 saves, 67%
-Jake Rainero, Jr., FOGO: 118-for-188, 63%; 52 ground balls
-Jake Lowry, Jr., M: 10 goals, 16 assists
-Lucas Stocks, Jr., M: 15 goals, 6 assists
-Matt Erman, Sr., FOGO: 77-for-125, 62%
-Juke Avelino, Sr., D
-Carter Shallcross, So., D
-Jordan Lowrey, Sr., D
-Thomas Kohaut, Jr., LSM/D
-Jonty Hodges, Sr., LSM
-Matt Zoeloff, Sr., SSDM
-Conor St. Amant, Sr., MD
THE BOTTOM LINE:
From the time the sun rose on Thursday, June 10, 2021, Rumson's focus has centered around getting back to the NJSIAA Group 2 title game and flipping the script on its postseason nemesis. That time has arrived.
On Wednesday night at Bridgewater-Raritan's Basilone Memorial Field, Rumson and Summit will collide in a titanic matchup to decide the Group 2 state championship. Last season, Summit won its 12th overall state title with a 9-6 victory over the Bulldogs, denying RFH a state title. It was the third time the Hilltoppers had thwarted Rumson in the postseason in the past seven years, including the 2018 Group 2 final and the first round of the Tournament of Champions in 2015.
Rumson is No. 5 in the NJ.com Top 20 and Summit is No. 6, but all those rankings do is give you an idea of where these teams stand statewide. The result of Wednesday night's championship game is, obviously, going to come down to execution. The Bulldogs have been performing at a high level all season and are coming in hot after an impressive 17-6 win over Manasquan in the South Group 2 sectional final. Rumson is deep on offense and athletic and skilled in its own end. Combine that with excellent coaching led by head coach Marc Moreau and the Bulldogs have all the ingredients to not only win a state title but to take it all the way to the T.O.C. championship. But first, they'll have to get through one of the state's elite programs.
Defense is the name of the game for Summit under longtime head coach Jim Davidson. Senior goalie Will Klein, poles Jude Avelino, Carter Shallcross, Jordan Lowrey, Thomas Kohaut, and Jonty Hodges lead the way for a unit that has allowed 10 or more goals just twice this season and is yielding a scant 3.7 goals per game. Summit is known for its zone defense but is more than comfortable and capable of playing man-to-man and thriving. Rumson wants to crank up the RPMs and keep a relentless pace but cracking the Summit defense will require some measured possessions.
One of Rumson's great strengths is offensive balance. Junior midfielder/attackman Cole Cashion and junior attackman Quinn Stankovits have each crossed the 50-goal mark this season while senior midfielders Tommy French and Philip Passalaqua have 32 and 31 goals each. Senior Connor Spagnuola also has 31 goals and saw plenty of time this year with regular starting attackman Christian Bockelmann out with an injury. Bockelmann, who is committed to Yale and was a First Team All-Shore selection last season, was injured in Rumson's third game of the season and missed the rest of the regular season before returning in the South Group 2 semifinals. He has five goals and five assists in two games since making his way back and gives Rumson yet another major scoring threat. As good and deep as Summit's defense is, Rumson's offense will force them to make a choice of where to deploy their poles. Exploiting the short stick matchup is something Rumson has been great at all season because they trust all six who are on the field to create their own shot and score.
Defensively, Rumson will try to limit the impact of Summit senior attackman Dylan Sebastian and senior midfielder John Murray. Sebastian has scored 43 goals and added 33 assists for a team-leading 76 points, while Murray's 46 goals are the most on the team. Junior defenseman Beau Kemler and junior LSM Matthew Bockelmann are two of New Jersey's very best defenders and will need to be at their best. Junior Luke Jamin and 6-foot-5 junior Will Rehder fly under the radar on a team will several stars, but both have been very good this season.
Rumson fell behind 6-1 to Summit in last season's Group 2 final before losing by a 9-6 score. Trying to come from behind against Summit is not a recipe for success so avoiding a similar start will be crucial.
At this stage of the season, there are no easy games, and that could not be more obvious when talking about the Group 2 final. Both of these teams are legitimate threats to win the Tournament of Champions, but that path begins on Wednesday night in the state championship game.