Bridgewater-Raritan topples Delbarton

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

UNION – There is no shame in losing to a great team. Bridgewater-Raritan has all the earmarks of greatness.

Senior attackman Scott Bieda scored six goals and Bridgewater-Raritan captured its second consecutive Tournament of Champions title with an 11-5 triumph over Delbarton on Saturday on the turf at Kean College.

Justin Higgins scored twice and Ryan Hollingsworth, John Longardo and Ray Mastroianni connected for the Panthers which finished with an unbeaten 21-0 record, and extended a 36-game winning streak dating back to last year.

Connor Bilby scored twice and Dillon Confalone, Grant Van Fossen and Matt Oplinger had goals for Delbarton. The Green Wave finished 16-7 and performed admirably in their first T of C Final since 2009.

Delbarton also had a brilliant performance from face-off standout Austin Williams. He won eight of the first nine draws and finished 15 out of 18 overall. Unfortunately, the Green Wave couldn’t turn his hard earned possessions into points on the scoreboard.

Delbarton face-off specialist Austin Williams’ play was a bright spot in a frustrating T of C Final for the Green Wave. Photo by Mark Kitchin.

Bridgewater-Raritan was playing at a different level. The Panthers defense did not give the Green Wave any good looks. Senior goalkeeper Zach Jones was also impressive. He had 12 saves, snaring most of the serious Green Wave challenges.

The Panthers, who admitted their triple overtime victory over Ridgewood in the T of C semifinal round made them more focused for the title game, built a 5-0 lead. They shut out the Green Wave until VanFossen planted a Matt Killian pass with 4:59 left in the second quarter.

Bridgewater-Raritan tallied three more times before the end of the half including a Bieda over-the-shoulder toss that hit the left side of the net with 14 seconds left to make it an 8-1 game at half.

Delbarton’s Jack Shaffer looks for an opening against the Bridgewater-Raritan defense. Photo by Mark Kitchin 

Bieda scored four of his six goals in the first half. The Bridgewater-Raritan senior, who was selected Attackman of the Year by the New Jersey lacrosse coaches last week, gave credence to their decision by displaying a wide array of savvy shots.   

Scores by Bieda and Ryan Hollingsworth on a Bieda assist made it a 10-2 game going into the final period.

Delbarton did not give up and battled valiantly throughout the fourth quarter. All three Green Wave scores were hard, well-placed shots. Confalone and Oplinger hit long range bombs that let off a little Green Wave frustration and gave them some proud moments. Bilby’s score was a very well placed righty shot into the left corner of the net.

Delbarton’s Jack Clarke makes a move to the cage during first half action on Saturday. Photo by Mark Kitchin

It was a tough way to end a season that otherwise went very well in the final weeks. The Green Wave can be proud of their brilliant state tournament run which included stellar triumphs over Montclair Kimberley Academyand Summit, where a little revenge was served. It may be a long summer, but some of the underclassmen gained some experience and the returning players have enough incentive to start preparations for next year with palpable goals of returning to the final.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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