RUMSON, NJ – The New Providence boys’ lacrosse team went into the South Jersey, Group 1 semifinal flying high following their first quarterfinal win in school history on Tuesday.
A combination of jitters, excitement and a strong opposing attack that scored five goals in the first quarter led to the Pioneers’ season ending, 11-7 loss to Rumson-Fair Haven on Thursday.
“We were just nervous. We had jitters,” New Providence head coach Vinny Carangelo said. “That’s understandable. I thought I was going to puke the whole day. It’s the natural part of the building process. It’s the first time here, in a big game like this, a state semi. Its so close to the ultimate dream. We’re right there. We were all nervous and it showed.”
The Bulldogs had no such jitters. Rumson-Fair Haven stormed out of the opening faceoff and scored the game’s first goal 45 seconds in on a shot from Chris Hubler.
After Colin Shea made it a 2-0 game, the Bulldogs scored three times in the final three minutes of the first to go up 5-0.
Trailing by five, New Providence did not go away. Like he’s done all year, Jack Harvey emerged as the go-to shooter for the Pioneers. The junior attacker scored four times in the second quarter, while his attack partner James Burke added one, as New Providence cut the deficit to 6-5 going into halftime.
Carangelo said Harvey’s second quarter was something he had never scene from the team’s leading goal scorer.
“That was impressive,” he said.” [Harvey] certainly has the ability to do that all the time. When I talked to him and James [Burke], we knew they had a strong defense, so I told them to be a little cavalier with their shots…They had kind of a free go then they usually do. He took advantage of it.”
Down by two to start the second half, Carangelo said New Providence played “nervous,” similar to the first quarter and it showed on the scoreboard.
Four different Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals in the third quarter, essentially taking the Pioneers out of the game. Hubler recored a goal and three assists in the frame, causing havoc for New Providence’s backline.
Following how the second quarter played out, Carangelo thought his team would have more momentum then they played with.
“I was surprised,” he said. “What happened was, we gave up two goals and struggled to clear the ball. Again, those jitters came back. We had to fight the uphill battle all over again trying to get rid of them. We did, but it was too little, too late.”
The Pioneers cut the Bulldog lead to three, scoring the first two goals of the fourth quarter, courtesy of Harvey and Jon Ebert. However, Rumson-Fair Haven answered Ebert’s goal 11 seconds later to end a New Providence comeback.
Despite the loss, Carangelo said he won’t stew on the loss, but instead remember what ultimately proved to be the most successful team in school history.
“It stings, but what I told the guys, tonight, when I sit down, I’m not going to be mourning this loss, I’m going to be celebrating this seasosn and that group of seniors,” Carangelo said. “This team and those guys are going to live on in my heart. I told them anything they need for the rest of their life I’m going to give them because they gave me everything they had for four years.”