Six-Peat: Rumson-Fair Haven Holds Off Manasquan to Win Sixth Straight Girls Lacrosse SCT Title
WEST LONG BRANCH -- Shore Conference girls lacrosse powerhouse Rumson-Fair Haven was put in an unusual spot during Saturday's Shore Conference Tournament final, but when the clock reached zeros the result was the same its been for the past six years.
The Bulldogs faced a stern challenge from upset-minded Manasquan, but Rumson was able to prevail with a strong second half to defeat the Warriors, 11-7, and bring home a record sixth straight SCT championship at Hesse Field on the Great Lawn at Monmouth University.
Gil Curran scored three times, Chase Boyle tallied twice, Kate Caruso, Mel Guido, Cassie James, Jordan Johnson, Meg MacGillis and Grace Jamin each scored once and Sophia Bocklage made six saves to give Rumson its seventh SCT title overall and continue the program's six-year undefeated streak against Shore Conference teams.
"We knew it was going to be a hard game because we play club with most of the (Manasquan) girls," Curran said. "We were a little flustered at first but we took a deep breath and knew what we had to do to settle down."
"For a while we were letting (Manasquan) run the show," said Rumson head coach Amy O'Keefe. "We just had to get our mode back and step up and make some big plays to get our momentum going."
Bella Feldmann gave Manasquan an early lead with a goal in the opening minute, but Rumson answered with five straight goals to take a 5-1 lead. Curran scored off a 12-meter free position to tie the score at one, then gave Rumson a 2-1 lead less than a minute later. Sophomore Jordan Johnson made it 3-1 just 26 seconds later. Rumson's lead grew to 4-1 when junior Grace Jamin scored while the Bulldogs were a player down and junior Casie James pushed the advantage to 5-1 with a goal at 13:04.
Manasquan clawed back, however, by controlling draws and finishing good chances. Maddy Stoddard and Jenna Harms scored goals 75 seconds apart to pull the Warriors to within 5-3. Rumson stretched its cushion back to three goals when senior Meg MacGillis scored, but three straight goals by Harley Pilling, Paige Harms and Audrey Moran tied the score at six with 3:48 left in the first half.
Curran scored with 2:36 left to give Rumson a 7-6 halftime lead but the Bulldogs' run of SCT titles was far from a given through the first 25 minutes.
"I was worried," O'Keefe said. "They were going hard and we were prepared for that, but we weren't stepping up and stopping them. We were just letting them do what they wanted to do. I feel like we were making them make some bad passes but we weren't getting the ball. We needed to start winning those 50-50 balls and we turned it around int he second half.
Rumson made the necessary adjustments over the final 25 minutes to win more draws and gain a possession advantage. The teams traded goals early in the second half but Rumson used two goals by Boyle, a freshman, and one by Caruso over the final 15 minutes while the defense and Bocklage held Manasquan in check.
"When we were down we were mad," Curran said. "We wanted to win the 6-peat and didn't want to lose the streak. We just pulled it together and worked together."
After surpassing Shore's streak of five titles in a row and pulling within one of the Blue Devils' overall mark of eight SCT titles, Rumson has plans to continue its conference supremacy for many years.
"Now we've made some history and that's what we wanted, to be someplace no other team has been," O'Keefe said. "That's what makes this one so special."
Rumson-Fair Haven 11, Manasquan 7
Manasquan 6 1 -- 7
Rumson 7 4 -- 11
GOALS -- M: Jenna Harms 2, Paige Harms, Bella Feldmann, Audry Moran, Maddy Stoddard, Harley Pilling; RFH: Gil Curran 3, Chase Boyle 2, Kate Caruso, Mel Guido, Cassie James, Jordan Johnson, Meg MacGillis, Grace Jamin.
ASSISTS -- M: Kennedy Miller, Maddy Stoddard.
SAVES -- M: Kate Montalto 4, Helena Morrison 6; RFH: Sophia Bocklage 4
SHOTS: Rumson, 24-16
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.