SUMMIT, NJ - While it may not have been emphatic, it was effective.
The Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team got five goals from Sara Szynal, and four from Stephanie Ford, along with six assists from Maggie Moriarty, to outdistance a tough Kent Place opponent 15-10 in the Union County Tournament semi-finals at AL Johnson High School. With the win, Summit advances to the final May 10 against Westfield, who scored in the final seconds to defeat Oak Knoll.
Based on the opening 10 minutes, it appeared the game would follow the traditional Summit script, which invariably ends with a double-digit win, and seven or more girls scoring goals. The Hilltoppers were quick out of the gate, with Ford scoring 36 seconds into the game, only to have Kent Place tie it 23 seconds later. Sara Szynal scored, followed by Ford's second, and then it was Julia Persche's turn, off a nice feed by Moriarty, and it was 4-1 Summit after just eight minutes.
Ford got her Hat Trick goal less than 10 minutes in and, after a Kent Place goal, Callie Humphrey scored via an off-balance shot to make it 6-2. After Kent Place scored to cut the lead to three, the Hilltoppers poured in three more goals, the first two coming from assist-machine Moriarty finding Szynal, and the ninth tally seeing Szynal turn provider for a Madeleine Gramigna finish.
9-3. Game in hand, correct? Not exactly.
Over the course of the final five minutes of the first half, and opening 10 minutes of the second, Kent Place outscored Summit 5-0 to cut the lead to 9-8. Kent Place was doing what it had not done in the first 20 minutes of the game, namely win draws and loose balls. The possession turned into goals, and the once-lopsided score line showed just a razor thin margin.
Summit -- through solid draw work by Gramigna -- righted the ship, regaining the possession edge, and the goals followed.
Szynal's fourth, Ford's fourth, Humphrey's second, and Szynal's fifth goals re-established a comfortable lead at 14-8, and -- while Kent Place scored one last time -- the Hilltoppers were on their way to the final. Gramigna's second goal of the game put a period on the end of the sentence.
"We got some draws, some stops, and Kady (Glynn) made a big save in the second half," said Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh. "I always felt we were going to get things done offensively, we just needed the ball."
Walsh described their finals opponent, Westfield, as a "known quantity", owing to the fact the teams met once this season already, an 11-6 Summit win on April 9. "They are very good, athletic, and are really solid in goal." Start time for the Union County final at AL Johnson High School is 5 p.m.