On June 1, 2016, the Chatham girls lacrosse team left Summit in a crushing 14-5 defeat in the state sectional final. Summit ended Chatham’s strong 14-6 season before the Cougars could capture their first state ring since 2012.
One year later, Chatham finds itself facing the Hilltoppers on Summit turf for another state sectional final. This year, the Cougars, seeded second in its Group 3 section, are prepared to make sure the group’s No. 1 seed won’t be standing in the way of their legacy again.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game all season,” Chatham senior co-captain Abby Morgan said. “We knew it wasn't going to be easy to get to the sectional final because Mendham was going to be tough. But now that we've made it, I think we all really want redemption from losing to Summit this season, and the fact that they've ended our season the past few years.”
Chatham (13-6) will be facing Summit (16-2) away for the state sectional title 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“This year we truly believe that we can beat Summit,” Chatham co-captain Schuyler Bixby said. “Summit has an amazing lacrosse program and it's going to be a very intense game, but we are so excited about the team that we are going into the game with. We’ve grown so much over the course of this season and if we go in knowing that we can beat them then I think anything is possible. We have to play with confidence.”
Summit’s only losses of the season have been to powerhouses Oak Knoll (17-4) and Ridgewood (20-0). They are currently undefeated (8-0) in the NJIGLL - Stars & Stripes South league.
“I think that their entire team is a threat, which is why they are such a difficult team to play against,” Bixby said. “We are going to prepare as much as possible during practice and hopefully translate everything to the field. But mostly we need to just focus on our game to match up against them.”
Despite Summit’s intimidating record, Chatham came out ready to fight in their last matchup against Summit this season. Chatham refused to let Summit dominate, resulting in a mere 10-7 loss as opposed to the 14-5 loss they suffered in the state-sectional final last year.
“Our chemistry has only gotten better as the season has gone on,” Morgan said. “I think there are a lot of factors that are pushing us to want this win so badly. From the beginning of the season beating Summit was one of our biggest goals and if we stay confident, composed, intense and don't played scared, then we believe we absolutely have a chance of beating them.”