SUMMIT, NJ - The rain didn't come during the game, but the Summit girls lacrosse team made it rain goals in their season opener on Friday.
The defending state champions scored the final seven goals of the first half, sending them to an 18-6 victory over Chatham.
Sophomore attack Sara Szynal, who is already committed to Northwestern, scored three goals in the first half and then netted the first two goals after intermission to finish with a team-leading five goals. Meaghan Celmer and Madeline Gramigna also joined Szynal with a hat trick in the first half
"A lot of times it's possession," Summit coach Mike Walsh said. "I actually think we were great in terms of the draw. We just gave ourselves more possessions than they did. We were pretty proficient in what we did when we had the ball in the offensive end."
The game looked like it might be a classic Chatham-Summit battle early on. Summit took a 1-0 lead, but Chatham came back to tie it 10 seconds later on a goal by Maggie O'Neill. Catherine Cordrey made it 2-1 for Summit before the Lady Cougars pulled even on a goal by Bridget Ballard.
The back-and-forth battle continued with a goal by Summit's Madeleine Gramigna for a 3-2 edge. Emily Wingate then bolted into the circle and connected with a left-handed shot that beat the goalie up high for Chatham and a 3-3 score. Summit netted three straight goals to grab a 6-3 lead before Kristen Maiorano scored from in front on a pass from Maddy Bowles.
The goal by Maiorano made it 6-4 with 5:49 left in the first half. That's when Summit began to win the draws and closed the half with seven straight tallies for a 13-4 advantage.
"We started off strong and had a lot of energy coming in," Chatham's Bridget Ballard said. "As the game went on they started scoring more and we were losing the draws. I think it's all mental. We had the ability to stay with them, but we started hanging our heads and thinking about our mistakes rather than what we can do. That played a huge part in why we failed.
In the second half, the highlights for Chatham were provided by sophomore Alex Frenzel, who scored two free position goals against Summit's standout goalie, Kady Glynn.