SUMMIT, NJ - It didn't take long for the Summit Hilltoppers to crease the Governor Livingston Highlanders' defense. Nor did Summit waste much team in building a monstrous and insurmountable lead. By halftime, the Hilltoppers held a 12-0 advantage and - after a nine-goal outburst in the second period - head coach Jim Davidson rotated second- and third-string players for the remaining 24 minutes of game time en route to a milestone win in a coaching career that has seen an amazing level of success achieved by his teams over the past season and a half. As always, Davidson was beyond modest after the game when asked to discuss Number 200.
"Yeah, it's 200. Yeah," Davidson said. "I didn't really think about it. The only reason I knew, I guess it was mentioned when MSG came in [over the weekend for the Chatham game]. I wasn't even thinking about it during the game but it's amazing to think that 12 years ago I was trying to get that first win and here we are. It's been great. It's a great community, a great town - you saw that this weekend - we've always worked hard and that's important to them. It really isn't my win, it's 200 wins for these kids."
Even if Davidson wasn't thinking about the milestone, his players were certainly executing like they knew something important was on the line as the Hilltoppers dominated every facet of the game thoroughly and completely. It was yet another dominant effort by the best boys lacrosse team in the state of New Jersey as Summit outshot the Highlanders by a mind-bending margin of 39-2.
Underclassmen Nick Kilkowski and Sonny Round led the way with three goals apiece and Marcel Godino, Johnny Scioscia and Terry McKenna each had multi-goal games in the rout. During the second period when the game really got out of hand, Summit controlled possession to the point of not allowing a single Governor Livingston shot. The Hilltoppers also outscored the Highlanders 9-0 in the quarter, each goal seemingly on the heels of the previous score.
When the third quarter began with the 12-goal running clock rule in effect, Davidson had removed every starter from the field and began to rotate in his back-ups and third string players. Due to several big wins this season, Davidson has had the chance to get his second and third tier players plenty of game action, usually against the opposing team's starters. Yet even as he rotated in players who don't get to see much game action, Davidson has his team so well coached, even down to the last man at the end of the bench, that they did not go out and continue to pour on more goals in the fourth quarter.
"I think it's important to us to number one, get our kids out here and ready to play," Davidson said after the game. "The starters come in and do their jobs and then you can go deeper into your line-up and it's nice to see as the year's moved on, we've been able to get these guys in here and they're still playing and running our offense and running our defense, our system and that's important. I think it's good, they know they have the opportunity to get in here and they're unselfish kids. They get in and they understand the situation and there's not a lot of selfishness."
While Governor Livingston is suffering through a down year on the lacrosse field, Summit once again can take no joy in such a big victory as they have a real test arriving on Wednesday afternoon in the form of the Ridgewood Maroons. To look at Ridgewood's 4-7 record, one might think that the Hilltoppers should have no problem with the visiting Maroons, but Mike Pounds' team has played the toughest schedule in the state of New Jersey this season, with close losses to Delbarton, Mountain Lakes and Montclair all on the record. If anything, Davidson knows that his team will be in for a dogfight, a challenge he and his players certainly welcome, yet respect at the same time.
"Ridgewood is very strong and if you look back traditionally at games between Ridgewood and Summit, if you go way back, you've got some good games," Davidson said. "One-goal games, overtime games. It's just always been, traditionally, a good rivalry. We're going to have our hands full with them."