|VIDEO: Pingry shocks Bridgewater-Raritan to reach TOC finals|
Overcoming a key injury and an opponent that hadn't lost in two years, Pingry booked itself a spot in the boys' lacrosse Tournament of Champions final. The Big Blue upset top seed Bridgewater-Raritan, pulling out a thrilling 8-7 victory.
The loss ends a 42-game winning streak for Bridgewater-Raritan that dated back to the end of the 2014 season. The Panthers had beaten Pingry three times during that streak, including last year's TOC semifinals and this year's Somerset County Tournament final.
A big first quarter, led by three goals from Jake Moss, gave Pingry a 4-1 lead. The Big Blue stayed in front until Bridgewater tied the game 6-6 in the opening moments of the fourth period.
But Pingry's Austin Chang gave his team the lead again just seconds later, and then scored again to boost the lead to 8-6. The Panthers got one goal back, but could not find the tying score against Big Blue goalie David Metzger.
Metzger, who played the second half as part of the Big Blue's usual goalie rotation, made nine saves. His final stop came with a minute to play, and Pingry managed to run out the clock, setting off a jubilant celebration on the field at Kean University.
First-half goalie Frankie Dillon stopped six shots. The Pingry defense held up well despite missing starter Ollie Martin, who was injured in the previous game.
Max Cummings had two goals for Pingry, including one just before the horn to end the first quarter. Josh Gully added a goal and an assist and Ben Shepard assisted on two goals for the fourth-seeded Big Blue.
Brian Kolen pumped in four goals for Bridgewater-Raritan. Ryan Kaden had a goal and three assists for the Panthers.
Ethan Christensen and Ethan Locker also scored for Bridgewater, which won the Group IV state title. The Panthers finish 19-1 on the season and miss out on a chance for their fourth Tournament of Champions title in six years.
For Pingry, it's the first-ever trip to the TOC final. The Big Blue are the first Non-Public B champions to reach the final game, and the first #4 seed to knock off the top seed in the TOC semifinals.
Now 17-3, Pingry will take on second seed, and four-time TOC winner, Delbarton in Saturday evening's final.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school boys' lacrosse state Tournament of Champions semifinal game, click play in the box at left.