By Ryan Fennell
Rumson – For two hours on Tuesday afternoon members of the Lady Bulldogs soccer team and their families and fans had a reprieve from the aftermath of Sandy on Two River Times Field at Borden Stadium.
Although still without electricity in their homes, the girls and their family members were able to briefly get their minds off the devastation all around them and focus on a hard fought game of soccer.
And the Lady Bulldogs brought the pressure to the Matawan Huskies on the field breaking out for three goals in the second half to win, 3-0, and advance to the second round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoffs.
“Under the circumstances of the past two weeks, I’m really proud of my kids,” Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Mary Beth Tukis said. “Both towns, Rumson and Fair Haven, were hit hard with the storm.
“We got together last week when we could to get the team camaraderie back and keep the chemistry going, keeping them focused on soccer as much as they could.”
Rumson came out strong in the first half and maintained possession, keeping the ball in Matawan’s end for much of the half. While Tukis acknowledged the girls might have been a bit flat in the opening half of the game, they came alive and broke through in the second, outshooting the Huskies 9-2 and netting all three of their goals.
Schuyler DeBree put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard in the 41st minute on a breakaway from midfield. DeBree took the ball all the way down and beat the defender before sending a shot to the lower right corner past Matawan keeper Karen David.
DeBree was in on the Bulldogs next goal in the 52nd minute feeding Lindsay McKean on a cross from the right corner to find McKean charging the middle.
A few minutes later, Margaret Stypa added the Bulldogs’ third and final goal of the game streaking down the right and blasting the ball into the back of the net.
“I’m loaded with seniors on this team,” Tukis said, “and they didn’t want this to be their last game and it showed in the second half.”
Tukis said that the team has been practicing all week despite the cancellation of school and the power outage with “99-percent” of the team able to participate.
“They really made a commitment to the team and they showed it today,” Tukis added.
RFH Athletic Director Walt Reiser said that after speaking with Superintendent Dr. Peter Righy, the decision was made to hold the boys’ and girls’ soccer games because, since the field was playable, it would be best to get them out there and let them play.
“I agree,” Tukis said. “Trying to get the girls back into a routine and really just getting their minds off what’s going on with the disaster and bonding with each other. Getting them out here to laugh and smile with each other and have a good time frees them for two hours and puts their minds on soccer and with their friends.”
Rumson will take on the winner of the Monmouth Regional – North Plainfield first round matchup, however, no date has been set for that game to take place yet.
If Monmouth Regional ultimately wins that first round game, Rumson would be granted another home game in the playoffs.