By Jim Hintelmann
RUMSON – Last Saturday’s key A Division Central boys lacrosse game between division challengers Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional was an evenly played battle – except for the first 4 minutes.
Unfortunately for RBC, those first minutes saw the Bulldogs four quick goals to put the Caseys in a 4-0 hole that they never was able to climb out of while dropping a 9-3 decision to the division-leading Bulldogs (5-0).
“We executed the offense the way we should have,” Rumson coach Andy Eastwood said. “We had some good looks, had high-quality shots and moved the ball well. We also had good fundamentals.
“However, we have three more division games coming up,” he said. “Then we look ahead to the Shore Conference and states.”
Just 1 minute into the game, Rumson was on the board with a goal by Chris Hubler. Sam Atkinson, Dominic Padula and Robbie Garavante then followed with goals in quick order.
“Rumson has a great team that plays a fast game,” said RBC coach Ryan Eichner, whose team (5-1) dropped into second place in the division.
“It took the first 4 minutes for us to pick up their level of game,” he said. “I thought that both teams played hard but, unfortunately, we lost. Still, it was a learning experience.”
RBC settled down after the early Rumson surge and scored the next two goals to get briefly back in contention.
Daniel Lukawski scored the first goal 7 minutes into the game. Early in the second quarter, Alex Spiezio got the ball near the Rumson goal, raced up the left side of the field and scored an unassisted goal to cut the lead to 4-2.
Rumson, however, quickly got control of the game again as Garavante, Seamus Walsh, Colin Shea and Chris Sutphen scored the next four goals.
Spiezio snapped the streak with his second goal of the game early in the fourth quarter, but Ryan Campbell slapped in a goal with just 10 seconds left in the game to close out the scoring.
“Rumson is a team that capitalizes on mistakes,” Eichner said. “Against a smart team like that, you not only have to play a physical game, but also a mental game.
“Hopefully, we’ll clear up some of the mistakes and, maybe, we’ll play them again in the conference tournament.”
“We had two quality losses,” Rumson senior J.T. Jennings said. “It helps us to play a competitive team like RBC. Our main goal is to win a state (Group I) championship. We missed by one goal last year, but hope to put all the pieces together this time.”