RUMSON – A driving rainstorm accompanied by strong winds could not stop Rumson-Fair Haven Regional’s unbeaten boys lacrosse team Jackson Memorial found out Monday night.
The Bulldogs, winners of three straight Shore Conference championships, took control of the game from the opening minute and never looked back in cruising to a 9-1 victory.
“The weather conditions out there were tough tonight,” Rumson’s first-year coach Andy Eastwood said, “but both teams had to play through it. We did what we had to do.”
Rumson went into the season with 12 returning players, 10 of them seniors, from last year’s 18-3 team and will be the team to beat once more in the conference.
Seniors Colin Shea and Chris Sutphin led the way for the Bulldogs with three goals apiece while the defense might have a shutout had Jackson not scored its lone goal with 7 seconds left in the first half.
“We had some tough games with them in the past,” Sutphin said. “We beat them in the conference finals in 2011, but our team has come around and matured.
“We’re looking ahead to the Shore Conference Tournament, but we want to win the Group I title,” he said. “We lost in the finals last year.”
Rumson took only a minute to score the first goal of the game when Shea tallied from 5 yards out on the right side.
In quick order, Lucas Seckler, Chris Hubler and Shea scored to open up a 4-0 lead after the first quarter.
Jackson’s defense tightened in the second period, holding Rumson to just one goal, a 10-yarder by Matt Walker midway through the period, but the Rumson defense was just as effective keeping Jackson on its side of the field most of the quarter.
“We hustled, moved the ball well and got a complete effort from the entire team,” Eastwood said. “Most of these kids have been playing lacrosse since they were young. They love the game.”
Hubler, who will be playing at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland next season, opened the third quarter with his second goal of the game, and then Sutphin added two more goals for an 8-1 advantage. Shea closed it out with his third goal of the game.
“It was rough out there with the weather,” said Shea, who will be playing lacrosse at Chestnut Hill College, “but we just got used to it and did it.”
“We do a great job down at the younger level,” Eastwood said. “The community loves the sport and it is a credit to everyone involved.”