CLARK, NJ - Somewhere along the 10.1-mile drive between the Hilltop City and AL Johnson High School, summer turned to fall as the shorts and T-Shirts summer climes that had creeped into the 07901 somehow turned into 'anybody bring a blanket?' fall weather in the southern confines of Union County.
For the number-one seeded Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team, their Union County Tournament (UCT) semifinal game versus fifth-seeded New Providence took the opposite tack, starting off a bit chilly and then getting warmer and warmer as it progressed.
The Maroon and White found themselves tied with the Pioneers 2-2 early, then slowly found more of their game to lead 6-3 at the interval before cranking their thermostat up another few notches in the second half to win comfortably, 12-5. In the UCT Final, to be played May 8 at 7 p.m., Summit will face number-two seed Westfield, which defeated Cranford 13-6 in the other semifinal.
Versus their New Providence neighbors, senior captain Greg Moller and sophomore Michael Bonomo each had three goals, and senior Gray Humphrey added a pair of blazers as Summit improved to 10-2 on the season. Senior Tyler Hadley had four saves between the pipes, and senior captain Skyler Schluter had a four-point night with a goal and three assists.
Joe D'Anna and Jack Gertie each scored twice for the Pioneers.
A brace of Moller goals sandwiching a Bonomo score were just enough to give The 'Top a 3-2 lead after an opening quarter. Summit looked like a team that hadn't played a game in five days as they ground their way through a half that wasn't exactly tidy and through an opponent that was clearly up for the challenge.
Nonetheless, the Hilltoppers began to get the rust out and scored three straight goals in the second quarter -- via Bonomo, senior captain Jackson Tyler and Schluter -- and took a 6-3 lead to the halftime break.
Both teams notched a pair of tallies in the third, with Humphrey and sophomore Luke Dinola finding the back of the net for Summit offset by a deuce of mirrored dash-and-deposit goals from talented Pioneer longpole Gertie.
Finishing in their highest gear of the night, the Hilltoppers popped in four more in the fourth to win going away. Humphrey, Moller's Hat Trick goal, Bonomo's Hat Trick goal, and a missile from junior Pat White gave the boys from the 07901 an even dozen.
The Hilltoppers claimed the stat battle as well, winning in ground balls (16-12), face-offs (13-7) and shots (30-10).
Against a more-than-familiar foe in Westfield, Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson says his team, "Can't make mental mistakes. We'll need to take advantage of our opportunities and finish our shots."
Summit will take on Westfield for the Union County Championship May 8 at AL Johnson High School. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.