BRIDGEWATER – After racking up the goals en route to earning the NJSIAA Non-Public B boys lacrosse title, Immaculata ran into a buzzsaw against Ridgewood on Saturday in the Tournament of Champions quartefinals.
The Spartans closed an early gap to one at 3-2 near the end of the first quarter, but Ridgewood went to work from there, scoring eight of the next 10 goals to earn a 16-8 victory at Bridgewater-Raritan’s Basilone Field.
The teams combined for 21 penalties in the game, with 14 of those coming in the second half. Ridgewood (15-7) capitalized for three man-up goals and Immaculata (15-5) converted two of its man-up opportunities.
Immaculata coach Tom Mott, unhappy with the way the game was called, expressed his displeasure following the game.
“Things did not go our way in terms of calls. There were things that were not called all year that were called today. I’m sure they are frustrated, just like I am. College officials come back and change everything,” he said.
Ridgewood will play top-seeded Delbarton in Wednesday’s T of C semifinals, with a spot in the championship game on the line.
Twin brothers Chandler and Connor Vanderbeek each netted two goals and younger brother Griffin had a goal and an assist for the Spartans, who netted five of their eight goals in the second half.
“They fought at the end, to the last minute, which is really all I can ask for,” Mott said.
Ridgewood outshot Immaculata 34-26, and the Spartans hit a pair of posts in the third quarter, when they were trying valiantly to come back and make a game of it.
Matt LoParo paced Ridgewood with four goals and two assists and Andrew Seiter netted four goals for the Maroons, who received points from seven different players.
But in the end, the penalties were the story. In the second half, the teams were whistled for 14 penalties, some of which were questionable on the field.
Mott also noted that he thought Ridgewood’s faceoff men got away with some moves on the x that weren’t legal, in speaking after the game. When asked what the difference was in the first half, when Ridgewood took off running for good, Mott was blunt.
“Their faceoff guy cheating,” he said. “They let him cheat the whole first half. You’re not supposed to be in the neutral zone or be leaning. He was over the ball. It was a little bit unfair.”
The loss capped a roller-coaster ride for Immaculata, which won the Non-Public B title on Wednesday night by a score of 17-13 over Morristown-Beard. The Spartans outscored opponents in the Non-Public B Tournament by a combined score of 46-20, regaining the title that Rutgers Prep ripped away form them just one year ago.
Chandler and Griffin Vanderbeek finished their careers on Saturday with 125 and 132 points, respectively.