SUMMIT, NJ - David Gill shakes his head when he thinks about the five-overtime game he played as a freshman for Chatham against Summit for the boys lacrosse Group 2 state championship.
Summit won that game on a goal by Sonny Rounds to win the 2011 state title. Gill managed a small slice of payback on Tuesday afternoon in a regular season game. Gill's charge to the net for a goal with 36.1 seconds left in the second overtime lifted Chatham to a 5-4 victory over Summit.
"I was the faceoff guy on that team," Gill said. "Summit is a fantastic team. They always come to play. This might be sort of payback, but we'll take it as a awesome game."
Chatham (2-1) had called time out with 1:49 left to set up a play, but when none materialized, Gill took it upon his shoulders, drove to the net and beat Summit keeper Sam Bebout to break the 4-4 tie.
"We tried to set up a couple screens and we didn't get what we wanted, Summit played great defense," the senior said. "So I went to the net and it worked out for us."
After losing to No. 1-ranked Ridge on Saturday, 11-7, Gill felt that Chatham (2-1) established itself as one of the elite teams in the state with the victory over Summit
"This puts us back where we want to be," Gill said.
Gill opened the game by winning the faceoff and that led to the first of two goals by Will Barnett for Chatham on a pass from Rich Berger (3 assists).
"We felt it was important to get a lead on Summit," Gill said. "That way we could play the game at our pace."
Chatham coach Tony Calandra couldn't help but recall the five-overtime game from three years earlier.
"Like I said, we lost a game in five overtimes to them three years ago in the Group 2 final," Calandra said. "They're a great team, well coached and they've done a tremendous job over the last 15 years.
"Defensively we were very solid and so were they. Just a great game.This made up for Saturday's loss (to Ridge) in our minds. We let one slip away on Saturday and we needed to come, pay attention to detail and focused. We got that."
David Gill talks about winning goal and rivalry with Summit in video below
Gill might not have gotten the chance to be the hero if it weren't for sophomore goalie Matt Nestler, who finished with 10 saves for Chatham.
In the fourth quarter, Summit's Jarret Ross fired a shot that clanged off the left pipe. Then, with 2:50 to go in regulation, Nestler made a big stop on a bid to win it by Connor Murphy. In the second overtime, John Cordrey's shot was blocked by Nestler's chest.
"He beat a slide coming in and once he got close to the crease I knew I just had to get my body behind it," Nestler said. "He shot it right at my chest and I was lucky to come uo with the save.
"It was a great experience. Definitely made the varsity experience a lot more enjoyable. I don't have the first-game jitters anymore. Now with a great win under my belt, I shouldn't be as nervous."
Goals were hard to come by in this one as both teams stepped up the defense. The Cougars gained a 2-1 edge in the second period when Connor Sardini picked up a ground ball and passed ahead to Barnett, who finished for his second goal of the game.
Andrew Chase netted a man-up goal with 3:02 left in the second period as Summit took a 3-2 edge into the break.
In the third quarter, Austin Pierce connected off a pass from Berger to tie it at 3-3 for Chatham. Gill's goal, on a feed from Berger, staked Chatham to a 4-3 edge. But Chris Zanelli scored with 14 seconds left in the third to make it 4-4 for the Hilltoppers. That was the last of the scoring until Gill made his charge in the second OT.
David Gill heads for the goal and the celebration follows his winning goal in video below