Finishing Off Opponents a Key to Success for Southern Regional Boys Lacrosse Squad
Apparently, a three-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter wasn’t enough for the Southern Regional High School boys lacrosse team in its season opener against Howell on March 29. The Rams ended up losing the game by two goals.
Lesson learned – finishing opponents is one key to a successful season. And the next day, the Rams unleashed their offensive fury and didn’t give Holmdel a chance to erase a deficit.
“That loss was a big punch in the face,” said senior attacker Kyle Mulrane, who scored six goals during the Rams’ first victory of the season, a 16-3 drubbing of the Hornets. “We thought we’d roll over Howell, and they ended up beating us in the fourth quarter. Today we had to come out as a team, and everybody had to do his part. We had to take care of business, and we did.”
It didn’t take long. Just 1:17 into the contest, junior midfielder Ryan Comfort fired a shot past the Holmdel goaltender and the Rams never looked back, ripping off eight unanswered goals for an 8-0 lead by halftime. After Mulrane gave Southern a 2-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first quarter, senior midfielder Will Johnson made it 3-0 less than a minute later, before Mulrane made it 4-0 with 1:12 left in the first. Johnson and Mulrane each scored once in the second quarter, while sophomore attacker Nick Fontana added two more during the final 3:15 of the first half.
After conceding a goal to the Hornets, the Rams scored four straight goals during the last 7:03 of the third quarter to break open the contest and take a 12-1 lead into the final quarter. Meanwhile, the defense – which has some inexperienced young starters who struggled at times against Howell – remained strong and cohesive. The Hornets managed 21 shots on goal, but Southern’s senior netminder, Tristan Farina, made 18 saves.
“We have some really young players in certain spots,” said Johnson, who finished with three goals and an assist. “We made mistakes at crucial points in the game, and Howell made us pay for them. We didn’t make many mistakes today.”
Sophomore middie Anellio Russo ended up with a pair of goals and three assists, while Fontana finished with two goals and two assists, and Comfort ended with two goals and an assist. Freshman attacker Cade Johnson added a goal and an assist.
“We graduated almost our entire defense last year, and our inexperience on defense showed a bit during the fourth quarter against Howell,” said head coach John Pampalone. “We lost a tough one, but our guys responded well against Holmdel.”
Against the Rebels, the Rams led 8-5 going into the fourth quarter, but Howell outscored Southern 6-1 during the final 12 minutes. Will Johnson fired in five goals, while Fontana registered two goals and two assists, and Mulrane tallied a pair of goals. Freshman defensive midfielder Will Devane and senior attacker Dylan Smith each had an assist.
On Saturday, April 1, Southern trailed Rumson-Fair Haven, 2-1, at the half, but the high-powered Bulldogs scored seven unanswered goals during the third and fourth quarters to record a 9-1 victory. Farina made 22 saves, while Will Johnson scored the Rams’ only goal in the second quarter.
On Monday, April 3, the Rams responded to their second loss of the season with their second victory – a 15-2 win over Jackson Liberty. Fontana had six goals and an assist, while Mulrane fired in four goals and gave out a pair of assists, and Will Johnson scored twice and provided an assist. Comfort, Anthony Firmani and Smith each scored a goal to help push the Rams to 2-2.
The next day, Southern crushed Shore Conference Class A South rival Toms River South, 20-3, as Mulrane and Will Johnson each tallied seven goals and Fontana recorded four goals and four assists.
The rest of the squad includes seniors Giancarlo Disporto, John Loftus, Chris Citarella, Austin Ogule and Will Gallagher, juniors Conner Black, Tyler Ciaccio, Denis Osborn, John Harmon, Luke Gerhardt, Ryan McWhorter, sophomores Iam Maul and Brandon Durst, and freshmen Noah Wasacz and Will Devane.
“All the goals for the season are the same,” Pampalone said. “We want to win A South and get back to at least the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament, and challenge for a state sectional title. The bar is set high, and we’re looking to condition what has become a tradition as a winning program.
“We had to fill some holes, and these guys are going to be very well tested throughout the season. But we know all those kids filling those holes are capable players, and they’re going to be fine. From there, it’s a matter of scoring goals, and we have guys who can do that.”
— David Biggy