MIDDLETOWN -- It was a slow start for Rumson-Fair Haven, but when the Bulldogs finally found their stride they showed why they are the top team in the Shore Conference.

Rumson, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, used a stifling defense and fluid attack line to down No. 4 Christian Brothers Academy, 10-3, in a Shore Conference nondivisional game on Tuesday afternoon. The Bulldogs led 3-0 at halftime and 6-1 after three quarters, turning in a great defensive game backstopped by senior Kyle Knapp, who was put forth a sturdy nine-save performance.

"We stuck to the gameplan," said Rumson head coach Andy Eastwood. "We had a little trouble finishing early on, but we got rolling and we didn't change anything."

The top group of attackmen for Rumson - seniors Robbie Garavente, Griffin Schultz and Henry Sillen - have been playing together since youth lacrosse, and their chemistry has been evident since last season. They provided nearly all the Bulldogs' offense Tuesday with a combined 11 points. Garavente and Sillen each had three goals and one assist and Schultz also tallied three times.

"We hang out every weekend; we're best friends," Sillen said. "Playing together is the best. Sharing the ball and scoring, it's awesome."

Junior midfielder Bryan Hess had Rumson's other goal and junior midfielder Alex Werner finished with two assists. Senior FOGO Butch Clark helped the Bulldogs (4-1) own a possession edge by winning 11 of 17 face-offs.

Held in check for much of the game, CBA (1-3) couldn't get its offense going until the third quarter when junior attackman Nick Casner scored twice to cut Rumson's lead to 7-3. The Bulldogs responded right away, however, when Clark won the ensuing face-off and sprinted into the CBA zone, dishing to Sillen who fed Garavente for a quick goal. That made it 8-3, and Rumson would tack on two more goals to win by seven and extend their winning streak to four games.

"That's a momentum changer," Eastwood said. "They got two quick ones, but Butchy won that face-off and we came down and scored. We've had that happen to us and it takes the air of out your sails."

After a scoreless first quarter, Sillen got Rumson started when he took a feed from junior midfielder Ryan Tuorto and blasted a shot past CBA goalie Ryan McGuiness. Just over two minutes later, Sillen made it 2-0 after taking a pass from Werner. Less than two minutes after that, Schultz curled around the cage and fired one high over McGuiness's stick for a 3-0 advantage the Bulldogs would hold into halftime.

The lead ballooned to 6-0 in the third quarter. Warner setup Garavente early to made it 4-0 before Hess took a quick pass from junior attackman Charlie Curran and ripped a shot in from just inside the box to make it 5-0. Another unassisted goal by Schultz put Rumson up by six before CBA broke the shutout on a goal by freshman attackman Connor Macrae.

When CBA was getting good looks Knapp was there to shut the Colts down. He made several point-blank saves when the score was still tight, giving the Bulldogs time to build their lead.

"Kyle played great today and he plays big in big games," Eastwood said. "When you win a lot of face-offs and possess the ball and get great goalie, play the pendulum is going to swing your way more times than not."

Sillen's third early in the fourth quarter off a pass from Garavente made it 7-1, but CBA was able to get two in a row to close the gap to 7-3. Senior midfielder John Salcedo fed Casner for a goal before sophomore attackman Michael Carroll dished to Casner shortly after. The quick answer from Rumson off the ensuring face-off squashed the Colts' rally, however. Garavente and Schultz added unassisted strikes to close out another win against their nondivisional rivals.

"We're playing pretty well right now, but no to our potential yet," Sillen said. "It definitely doesn't get any easier but we have to keep grinding."


Box Score

No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven 10, No. 4 Christian Brothers Academy 3

Rumson (4-1) 0 3 3 4 - 10

CBA (1-3)      0 0 1 2 -  3

GOALS - RFH: Garavente 3, Sillen 3, Schultz 3, Hess 1; CBA: Casner 2, Macrae.

ASSISTS - RFH: Werner 2, Garavente, Sillen, Tuorto, Curran; CBA: Carroll 2, Salcedo.

SAVES - RFH: Knapp 9; CBA: R. McGuiness 9.

SHOTS - Rumson, 39-24.


Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at badders@allshoremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights. 


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