State Lacrosse Roundup

Offensive Outbursts Send Southern Boys Lacrosse Team Into Sectional Semifinals

Southern, Barnegat Girls Bounced in Quarters
By DAVID BIGGY | May 22, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Southern’s Cade Johnson celebrates one of his seven goals as the Rams score an 18-6 victory over Hightstown during the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV tournament on May 15.

Stafford Township — Following the first two weeks of the season, the Southern Regional boys lacrosse team seemed a bit sketchy, as if the Rams weren’t going in the right direction.

“In the beginning of the season, everybody was kind of doing their own thing,” said junior attacker Cade Johnson. “But once all the guys got on the same page and started playing the way we were supposed to play, things got better. The chemistry got much better after those first four or five games.”

Since the Rams’ 2-2 start, they’ve only lost once, in the Shore Conference Tournament a few weeks ago. Last week in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV tournament they maintained a winning chemistry, scoring a pair of wins and earning a spot in the sectional semifinals.

On May 18, fifth-seeded Southern traveled to Monroe to meet up with the Falcons (15-4) in a quarterfinals contest and returned home a 10-5 winner. The Rams broke open a 5-5, third-quarter deadlock with five goals in the fourth quarter.

While Luke Maul recorded 15 saves in goal, Johnson led the offense with five goals and two assists. Ajani Steverson added two goals, and Nick Stankus, Ryan Sinisky and Aaron Hutchinson each scored once to help send Southern into the semifinals, where the Rams were slated to meet top-seeded Montgomery on Wednesday, May 22.

“Our offense has been clicking really well the past few games, and our defense has been great all season,” Johnson said. “No matter what game we’re playing, we just go out there and try to do what we do best.”

Coach John Pampalone on May 15 referred to his team’s 18-6 bruising of Hightstown in the first round as its best offensive showing of the season. Johnson and Steverson led the way with seven and six goals, respectively.

“It absolutely was, without a doubt,” Johnson said. “Our offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense was amazing and Drew Wasacz was enormous at the faceoff X today. They went on a little run at the end of the first quarter, but we knew what we had to do to finish them off.”

Leading 5-3 after the first, Southern’s defense clamped down in the middle of the field while Johnson and Steverson led an offensive surge in which the Rams (14-3) outscored Hightstown, 10-1, during the middle two quarters. Luke Bruther, Will Devane, Jake Hughes, Sinisky and Stankus each contributed a goal.

Southern Girls Lacrosse Team

Bows Out in Quarters

Colleen Mason was quite excited following the Southern girls lacrosse team’s game on May 15. Not only did the senior attacker score six times and give away a pair of assists, but she helped lead the Rams to their first state tournament win in the program’s history – an 18-7 drubbing of Atlantic City in the first round of the South Jersey Group IV tourney.

“We’ve never won a state game before, so it’s awesome. The fact we were able to win the game at home makes it that much better,” Mason said. “It’s such a big deal for the seniors because it means we get to play one more home game.”

For the first five minutes, it appeared the 13th-seeded Vikings were going to give the fourth-seeded Rams (13-3) some problems. But Mason broke a 1-1 tie with 19:20 left in the first half and Southern surged from there, scoring 10 of the next 12 goals to go up 12-4 at the half, as goaltender Kyleigh Bell recorded five saves and the defense effectively shut down the A.C. offense in front of the goal.

“We’ve had such a great season and we wanted to keep it going,” Mason said. “We made history this year by winning our division and today we wanted to keep making history. We were a little chaotic at the beginning of the game, but once we relaxed and played our game everything fell into place for us.”

Rylee Johnson contributed three goals and an assist, while Holly Yannacone provided a pair of goals and four assists, and Kacey Kubarewicz added three goals to the mix. Sophia Cooney, Maitland Demand, Abbey Malandro and Kaitlyn O’Boyle each scored once to complete the offensive onslaught.

Unfortunately, the next home game became the last of the season for the Rams, as fifth-seeded Cherokee outscored Southern, 6-3, in the first half and went on to win an 11-8 contest in the quarterfinals on May 17. Bell and Madison Caputo combined for 13 saves, but Mason, Johnson and Yannacone were held to a combined five goals. Cooney, Demand and Malandro each added goals.

Barnegat Girls

Fall to Lower Cape May

The only other local girls lacrosse team still playing in state tourney, Barnegat, had its season ended on May 17 as well, as the Bengals dropped a 12-8 decision to fourth-seeded Lower Cape May in the South Jersey Group II quarterfinals.

Kara Ferrigno scored three times and Maddie Schleicher added two more. But while Lower Cape May’s goalie, Melani Amador, recorded 18 saves to thwart Barnegat (15-5), the Bengals’ defense wasn’t quite as effective in front of goaltender Gabby Furrule, who made seven saves. Alexis Jackson, Ashley Pringle and Kyla Rauch each scored once.

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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