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MIDDLETOWN -- A youthful and talented Red Bank Regional boys lacrosse team is starting to put it all together and find ways to win, just as it did against a fellow ranked opponent on Tuesday evening.

Sophomore midfielder Andrew Pape scored the go-ahead goal with 22 seconds left and the defense came up with one final stop in the closing seconds as the Bucs, ranked No. 10 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, rallied with four goals in the fourth quarter to win a thriller over the No. 8 Middletown South in a Shore Conference non-divisional game.

"We were trying to get that final shot so we didn't give them any time at the other end," Pape said. "It was a pass down and I was supposed to come up, and it worked perfectly. I felt pressure on my hip and as soon as he let go I turned and let it fly."

Middletown South held an 8-7 lead going into the fourth quarter. Red Bank tied it up on a goal by junior midfielder Henry Spencer with 9:21 on the clock but Middletown South pulled ahead again when senior midfielder Luke Rohrmann scored off a pass from Steve Kirchner at 7:10. Spencer then sank his sixth goal of the game at 4:53 to tie the game 9-9 and Matt Kelly converted a pass from Pape for a goal at 3:35 to give Red Bank a 10-9 advantage. Middletown South found the equalizer with 3:00 left on an unassisted goal by Rohrmann.

After Pape's goal gave Red Bank the lead, Middletown South won the ensuing face-off and finally gained possession with 3.4 seconds left and was able to call a timeout. The Eagles drew up a play but their final shot attempt skidded just wide of the net as Red Bank hung on for the dramatic victory.

"We wanted to crowd the crease and just not let them get a good shot off," said junior goalie Gavin Lisko. "We really rallied together and played as a team. We dug in to get this win."

Spencer had an excellent game with a game-high six goals while Pape tallied three goals and one assist. Junior attackman Ryder Villani and sophomore Matt Kelly each scored once. Matt Lynch chipped in with two assists and Trey Lynch had one assist. Lisko made some key saves down the stretch and finished with 10 total saves.

Sophomore midfielder Colin Gallagher led the way for Middletown South with two goals and four assists and junior midfielder Beau Servidio dominated the face-off X by winning 20 of 24 draws. Rorhmann delivered four goals and one assist, John Beyer had two goals and an assist, Steve Kirchner had a goal and an assist, and Brendan Gilbert scored once. Lucas Campos made four saves.

Spencer, a standout junior middie who is committed to Air Force, was borderline unstoppable when he made up his mind to attack the net. He had Red Bank's first goal in the game's opening minute and continued to find the back of the net in crucial moments. Five of his six goals either tied the game or gave Red Bank the lead.

"You want 10 of those guys if you can have them," said Red Bank head coach Andy Eastwood. "It's always great when you have someone who can run down the field and break down a defense to either assist a goal or get his own shot."

Spencer's efforts alone would not have been enough to overcome Middletown South, however. Servidio's dominance at the face-off X had the Eagles way ahead in time of possession. Efficient possessions and timely stick work in the midfield and defensive zones were needed to help even the playing field.

"Midd. South was very good at the face-off X and their defense was all over us. We played together and fought hard in the middle of the field and got some transition, which helped," Eastwood said. "You have to be patient because when you get the ball you have to figure out where your opportunities are going to come from and capitalize. We played a lot of defense. We made an adjustment in the second half that helped us out against a really good team."

Spencer started the scoring with a dodge and a tough-angle shot that found the top corner of the net exactly 60 seconds into the game. Middletown South tied it 1-1 when Gallagher scored off an assist from Beyer. Villani then gave Red Bank a 2-1 lead and Pape extended it to 3-1 off an assist from trey Lunch with 3:32 to play in the first quarter. Middletown South scored the next two on strikes from Beyer and Rohrmann before Spencer took a setup from Matt Lynch and gave RBR a 4-3 lead with 7.8 seconds on the clock.

Middletown South came out firing in the second quarter and put in three straight goals to take a 6-4 lead. Gilbert buried a pass from Gallagher to tie the score 4-4 with 8:48 left in the half and Gallagher then set up Kirchner for a goal with a flag down, putting the Eagles up 5-4. Gallagher then ripped one up high off a feed from Rohrmann that stretched South's lead to 6-4 with 5:32 left in the first half. Red Bank got one back on Pape's second goal off a pass from Matt Lynch with 1:12 to go.

Spencer tied the game 6-6 with an unassisted goal at 9:36 of the third quarter before Middletown South opened up another two-goal lead on goals by Beyer and Rohrmann. Once again, the Bucs rallied to tie the game as Spencer scored his fifth goal of the game with 50 seconds left in the third quarter and then struck for his sixth goal early in the fourth quarter to tie the game 8-8.

It was a one-goal game from there with four lead changes until Pape's go-ahead goal with less than 30 seconds to play. The Bucs now have earned wins over No. 9 Red Bank Catholic and No. 8 Middletown South in the last seven days. Not only were they momentum-building rivalry wins, but they were also critical victories to get the Bucs to .500 with the Shore Conference Tournament cutoff looming on May 3. Red Bank now sits at 5-4 with games vs. Holmdel and St. John Vianney coming up.

We had some injuries early on so we're just starting to out it together," Eastwood said. "It starts with preparation. These boys work hard every day and pressure is relieved when you prepare."


Box Score

No. 10 Red Bank 11, No. 8 Middletown South 10

Red Bank (5-4)      4 1 2 4 -- 11

Midd. South (6-4)  3 3 2 2 -- 10

GOALS -- RBR: Henry Spencer 6, Andrew Pape 3, Ryder Villani, Matt Kelly; MS: Luke Rohrmann 4, Colin Gallgher 2, John Beyer 2, Steve Kirchner, Brendan Gilbert.

ASSISTS -- RBR: Matt Lynch 2, Trey Lynch, Andrew Pape; MS: Colin Gallagher 4, Luke Rohrmann, John Beyer, Steve Kirchner.

SAVES -- RBR: Gavin Lisko, 10; MS: Lucas Campos 4.


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