SUMMIT, NJ - On a day that the Summit High School Boys Lacrosse program honored a massive slice of its elite era -- by marking the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 team that captured Hilltoppers' first-ever Tournament of Champions crown, a squad that also began the program's fabled, 68-game winning streak -- the 2019 Summit Varsity began writing what it hopes will be their own storied chapter in the program's history books.
After not playing for a week, and with the game nipping at the heels of the Senior Prom the night prior, the Maroon and White took to the Tatlock Park turf on a now-this-is-more-like-it blue-sky, warm day to face Demarest in their opening contest of the NJSIAA North, Group 2 State Tournament.
A tentative offensive start gave way to plethora of tallies which eventually resulted in an emphatic 16-4 victory for the home team over the eight-seeded Norsemen. The win sends the Hilltoppers into the semifinal (third) round May 22 where Summit will host fourth-seeded West Essex.
Senior captain Jackson Tyler ran around, over and through Demarest defenders and fired home four scores, and five of his teammates scored two goals each as the Hilltoppers improved to 13-2 on the season. Senior Tyler Hadley had four saves in goal before being spelled by junior Owen McTernan and then sophomore Will Zipf.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard over the first half of the first quarter, with Summit looking a skosh indecisive and Demarest either producing relatively non-threatening shots at Hadley or being turned over. That stretch of meh play started to cease when sophomore Michael Bonomo scored, which was followed by goals from senior captain Skyler Schluter and then Tyler. The first quarter ended with the Hilltoppers leading, 3-0.
Four more Summit goals -- from Tyler, senior Gray Humphrey, senior captain Greg Moller and Tyler again -- bumped the lead up to 7-1 at the break and, while the game's result wasn't in doubt, the Hilltoppers were just warming up.
Post-break, Summit's offense kicked into high gear and seemingly, before most of Hilltopper Nation could say 'Uncle Charley', Demarest trailed 13-2, as Tyler, Bonomo, Humphrey, two from sophomore Luke Dinola, and Moller all found the back of the net in quick succession.
While it was definitely game over and time to relax, one thing stood clear: it was 'Muller Time', with junior Henry Mulller depositing two cold ones in the fridge to make the score 15-3. Sophomore Jim Persche put the thermostat on chill with the final Summit goal in the final quarter.
Game time for the Summit versus West Essex semifinal on May 22 is yet to be set, but is likely to be 4 or 4:30 p.m.