Second-Quarter Surge Pushes Shore Past Holmdel in SCT Opener
WEST LONG BRANCH – Jake Turner, Ryan Morris and the rest of Shore Regional’s offense was on its game and Scott Sirianni was sturdy in goal, and when the Blue Devils are playing like that they’re awfully tough to beat.
Turner fired in four goals, including a first-half hat trick, while Morris tallied two goals and four assists and Sirianni had another big game with 13 saves to lead eighth-seeded Shore to a 12-8 victory over ninth-seeded Holmdel in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Devils (13-2) used a stretch of five unanswered goals to end the first half to break open a tie game and were able to sustain that lead the rest of the way to tie the program record for wins in a season and advance to the SCT quarterfinals.
Shore will play at top-seeded Christian Brothers Academy at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
“I feel like this is the best we’ve ever moved the ball around in a game,” Turner said. “We were making connections and we were able to finish.”
“We had a couple of lapses in the beginning but I think we played pretty well,” said Shore head coach Gregg Malfa. “We were trying to figure out their offense a little bit, they had some nice slips and cuts inside where they fed the ball really well and capitalized on them. We got the defense together and made some chances – got the second slide to come a little earlier – and to their credit, they adjusted pretty well.”
A constant throughout the game was Sirianni coming up with big saves. Early on he was stopping shots from the outside, and when Holmdel realized they weren’t going to beat him from distance they used quick passing plays to get inside. He stopped those, too.
“They were moving the ball well and catching us, they had some cutters going on and I was just trying to see where it was going out of their stick and keep my head in there,” Sirianni said. “In the beginning, they kind of took it to us but our defense started talking more and worked it out. We started getting defensive stands so we could go down and get some goals.”
“When it gets to that three-goal lead area you tend to get a little nervous because in lacrosse it’s not that big of a lead,” Malfa said. “I think when it was 10-7 he had a couple of really good saves. That gives your team confidence.”
Jack Kapcsos gave Holmdel (11-5) an early lead with a goal 23 seconds into the game, but Shore quickly answered with an extra-man opportunity goal by junior midfielder Jack McCrae and a pair of goals by Turner to take a 3-1 lead. Justin Cohen’s goal off a pass from Dan Bunting cut the lead to 3-2 and his goal early in the second quarter off a man-up feed from Justin Arredondo tied the game at three, but just over a minute later Shore began its run to take over the game.
Morris’s goal at 6:27 of the second quarter gave Shore a 4-3 lead and Turner scored off a quick dodge after a pass from McCrae to push the advantage to 5-3. Justin Murphy then converted off a dish from Morris before Morris scored unassisted to stretch the Blue Devils’ lead to 7-3. A power dodge and blast by junior midfielder Gil Goldsmith with 28 seconds left in the half gave Shore an 8-3 lead at the break.
Holmdel made up slight ground in the third quarter as Arredondo set up Bunting for a goal 37 seconds into the half. Murphy answered two minutes later to give Shore its five-goal lead back but Joe Hazel sank a pair of goals, the second coming off Arredondo’s third assist of the game, to make it a 9-6 game. Turner answered just 50 seconds later, however, as Shore took a 10-6 lead into the fourth quarter.
The teams traded goals in the final frame as Kapcsos scored early and Dan Tempone scored late while Tom Bocco scored twice for Shore, both off passes from Morris.
Now Shore will take its crack at No. 1 CBA. The Colts are the only undefeated team in the Shore and ranked No. 5 in the state.
“We asked the guys, ‘Has anybody ever been afraid of a challenge? And each guy thought about it and said, no’,” Malfa said. “All CBA will be is another challenge. It will be a monumental challenge but it’s going to be a good challenge, not something you should look at as a negative. It’s a test to see how good we are not just individually but how well we can come together as a team.”
Shore 12, Holmdel 8
Shore (13-2) 3 5 2 2 – 12
Holmdel (11-5) 2 1 3 2 – 8
GOALS – H: Jack Kapcsos 2, Joe Hazel 2, Justin Cohen 2, Dan Bunting, Dan Tempone; S: Jake Turner 4, Ryan Morris 2, Justin Murphy 2, Tom Bocco 2, Jack McCrae, Gil Goldsmith.
ASSISTS – H: Justin Arredondo 3, Dan Bunting; S: Ryan Morris 4, Jack McCrae.
SAVES – H: Nick Tuccillo 7; S: Scott Sirianni 13
SHOTS: Shore, 38-31
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.