The boys lacrosse team had a single goal this season: Repeat as winner of the Tournament of Champions.
The Panthers achieved that feat Saturday night by beating Delbarton 11-5 Saturday night at Kean University, finishing the season a perfect 21-0 and extending their overall winning streak to 36 games.1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL Bridgewater (21-0) 3 5 2 1 11 Delbarton (16-6) 0 1 1 3 5
Bridgewater played as the powerhouse they've been all season. Jumping out to a five-goal lead, the offense seemed to score at will and kept Delbarton guessing as to what weapon would come next while keeping the Green Wave back on their heels.
Anchored by Zack Jones in goal, defenders Evan Mock, Connor Murphy, Jared Kaden and Andrew Hengemuhle, the Panthers held Debarton at bay the entire game. Jones tallied 12 saves in Saturday's game.
"It is the most trust can have in a defense," Scott Beida said. "I don't think another team can have that much trust in a defense. I know when I am sitting on that 50-yard line, we're fine, we're going to get the ball back, we are going to be OK. We know it is going to happen. Our defense is that good."
But it was Beida who single-handedly outscored Delbarton with six goals and an assist.
"It is funny to say, but me and Ryan (Hollingsworth), it was just the backdoor cuts and we had four of them," Beida said. "It was just a head nod and you go."
A pair of goals by Justin Higgins, and goals from Ray Mastrioanni, John Longordo and Hollingsworth completed the Bridgewater scoring.
"Missing Vince Colitriano is a big loss. Vince has been a really big part of our team. They just rallied and decided it wasn't going to deter us. They had it in their minds that it was going to be tougher, but it was going to be do-able. We have a lot of great kids, Vince was a big part of it. Everybody stepped up and made it possible"—Bridgewater coach Chuck Apel
THEY SAID IT
"I've been off the last two games, but you can't take away that Tripp (Telesco of Ridgewood) was one of the best defenders I've ever gone against. Our team is just so deep. Any day a person could their day. That is why this team is so great. The Ridgewood game show us if we get down we can get back up. We just rolled off of that game and played as hard as we could."—Scott Beida
"It is great to have our goal. It is crazy to be here now. All the years of rec, the hard practices, the two-a-day's, all those years finally paid off. It feels amazing."—Shane Carmody
"I am speechless right now. It is just crazy. I don't know how to describe it. To do this two years in a row. To set the goal at the beginning of the season and be able to fulfill it again. It is unbelievable."—Ray Mastrioanni
"It is great to win this twice. This was our goal from the beginning of the season, all the work we do, it all comes down to this game. We knew their tendencies and what they would be doing so we just came out to a great start at 5-0 and we just rolled from there."—Justin Higgins
"It's amazing. Last year we won by a goal and it was close. This year we came out, we executed our plan to a "T." We did everything we wanted to do and it shows on the scoreboard."—John Longordo
"It feels awesome. Two years in a row, it couldn't be better. I love every single one of these seniors, all the other kids who helped us get where we are now, even the kids from last year. I want to give a "shout out" to my coach growing up, MG, Ryan Hollingsworth's dad. He coached me from 3rd grade all the way up to high school and he let Caoch Apel take over in a great spot. He taught us how to play lacrosse, he taught us about life and how to win games and how to do it with character. I can't thank him enough for that."—Mike DiPascali