SUMMIT, NJ - Executing at a high rate of efficiency on offense, and anchored by a stout defense and a hot goalie, the Summit High School boys varsity lacrosse team built a 7-0 first-half lead, handily defeating Mountain Lakes 10-3, and earning a berth in the Tournament of Champions final.
The Hilltoppers will face Delbarton -- which rallied from a 5-4 halftime deficit to down Ridgewood, 12-6 -- in the championship game June 7 at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Jarrett Ross, Matt Fischetti and James Strabley each scored two goals for Summit, Sam Bebout made 12 saves in goal, and the Summit defense effectively shut down the talented Laker attack. Andrew Helmer had a tour de force game on defense and in transition, scooping up loose balls and carrying with pace and agility to break the opposition pressure.
Ross opened the scoring unassisted just over three minutes in, cutting in from the right side and finishing powerfully for a 1-0 lead. The advantage was doubled when, with 1:15 remaining in the quarter, James Strabley found Chris Zanelli who scored. The goal had its origins in a Bebout save and clear which ignited the play.
The beginning of the second quarter saw the Hilltoppers blitz Mountain Lakes for three goals in less than three minutes. Fischetti scored a man-up goal, followed by Kyle Waldron's sublime side-arm, cross-crease feed finding Strabley, who made it 4-0. Ross then scored a mirror image of his opener, slashing in from the right and it was 5-0 with 9:10 remaining in the quarter.
Less than two minutes later John Cordrey fed Fischetti for his second of the game and, with just under four minutes remaining in the half, Waldron assisted on a goal by Riley Flynn to make it 7-0.
Brad Landry scored for the Lakers with 1:27 to go in the half, but the damage was done. Bebout made a big stop to ensure momentum resided with the Hilltoppers, and Summit entered the break ahead 7-1.
The second half opened with a wild, 30-second long loose ball scrum off the face-off. Summit finally gained possession, and scored on the ensuing sequence when Strabley hit Connor Murphy in front for the Hilltoppers eighth goal. Summit took two penalties in the quarter, but Bebout made several big stops and the period ended with the Hilltoppers up 8-1.
Mountain Lakes battled hard to the end, and they did score twice in the fourth quarter. The lead was narrowed to 8-3 but, as the clock indicated less than three minutes to go, the Lakers doubled the ball, and Strabley and Cordrey each scored into the vacated goal, the horn sounded, and the final beckoned.
On shutting down the Lakers scorers, Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson said, "We brought some help, made some adjustments, but we didn't change away from what we normally do." As for the offensive surge, Davidson noted, "Guys were moving, creating, getting their hands free, shooting and finishing."