SUMMIT, NJ - Another matchup against Summit in the state sectional final left the Chatham girls lacrosse team with a difficult-to-take 13-6 loss.
The Hilltoppers ended Chatham’s strong season (13-7) with its hard-fought victory on Thursday.
Nevertheless, the Cougars did not make it easy for Summit (17-2) to get away with a decisive win. The game was destined to be a battle for both sides within minutes of the game’s start. Senior Catherine McNiff was the first to put points on the board for Chatham, winning a ground ball on her draw and taking it straight to the net, connecting 13 seconds into the game for a 1-0 edge.
Summit soon matched the first goal, and it was a back-and-forth game until the Hilltoppers’ fourth goal. Unfortunately, the Cougars suffered a rough patch in the second part of the first half. Chatham was down 9-2 at halftime.
“I think we did a really nice job of just never giving up the whole game,” Chatham head coach Hilary Renna said. “We had a bit of a lull in the first half, but we tied the second half which is awesome to do against a team like Summit. I’m just really proud of them for never giving up.”
Chatham didn’t allow the letup in the first half to hold them back for the rest of the game. Senior co-captain Schuyler Bixby broke the spell with her goal five minutes into the second half. After Bixby’s goal, Chatham immediately bounced back. Both teams fought hard until the end, scoring four goals each in the second half.
Despite the disappointing finish, Chatham girls lacrosse produced another impressive season. The team was seeded second in both states and counties this year, and was consistently ranked in NJ.com’s Top 20 girls lacrosse teams in the state.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Renna said. “It’s awesome to have made it back to this game again, but this is like the fifth year we’ve lost to Summit, so I know that this team especially just really wanted to come out with the W. Even though they didn’t, I think they really played their hearts out and left it all on the field.”
McNiff and Emilie DeKeyzer hit the net for Chatham’s first two goals. Bixby, Lizzie O’Neill, Frances Workman and Abby Morgan all scored in the second half. Goalie Kat Friday had thirteen saves for Chatham.
Helen Johnson led Summit’s offensive efforts, scoring six goals. Also contributing to the scoreboard for Summit were Anna Turk, Cecily Stabler, Katia Carnevale, Anna Griffith and Julia Syznal.
Freshman Lizzie O'Neill scores off a pass from Abby Morgan in the second half for Chatham