OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Rumson-Fair Haven has moved into the finals of the Shore Conference Girls Lacrosse Tournament at just the right time as the top-seeded Bulldogs seem to be playing at peak form.
Rumson played one of its best games of the season Monday, May 12, in routing Ocean Township, 17-4, and earning a rematch with second-seeded Red Bank Catholic, which beat Freehold Township in the other semifinal game. The two teams will play in the finals Thursday at Monmouth University (after press time).
The game against Ocean was never in doubt with Rumson jumping to a quick 5-0 start with Nicolette Dunphy, who scored seven goals in the game, beginning the scoring with two quick goals. Mary Scarrone also scored twice and then Anna Finn added a fifth goal.
“We wanted to get off quickly and prevent them from getting any momentum,” Rumson coach Amy O’Keefe said. “I’m excited about reaching the finals. If we win, it will be the first time that we’ve won back-to-back Shore Conference Tournament championships.”
Ocean, which had two losses during the season, both to RBC, finally snapped the scoreless streak as McKayla Conti scored from 5 yards out with 15:10 left in the half.
It was only a temporary reprieve, though, as Maggie Jennings, Madison McGuire, Morgan Steinhacker and Dunphy scored the final four goals of the half for a 9-1 advantage.
“This is the first time we played Ocean this year,” said Dunphy, who will be playing lacrosse at Lehigh University next season.
“We came into the game really pumped up,” she said. “We lost to Oak Knoll two Saturdays ago and we really had to work hard. Oak Knoll is a really tough team.”
Ocean’s best moment came early in the second half when Caitlin Herod and Conti scored successive goals to narrow the lead to 9-3.
Rumson, however, settled down and came back with eight straight goals, including three additional from Dunphy. Scarrone slapped in two more goals to give her four goals for the game. Finn added two more and Jennings had the final score.
“I’m happy with the way we are playing,” O’Keefe said. “I’ve been coaching at Rumson for 11 years and this team is my best one.”