SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team was feeling their oats
in the NJSIAA North, Group 3 final against Moorestown, and that meant bad news for the Quakers.
Playing a complete game in all phases from start to finish, The Maroon & White put the offensive and defensive hammers down early and often, sailing to a convincing 15-6 win, capturing the North, Group 3 title, and advancing to the state Tournament of Champions.
There, the Hilltoppers -- now 22-1 on the season -- will face Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals June 8 at Monmouth University. Game time is set for 3 pm. The other semifinal will see Oak Knoll take on Ridgewood.
Senior captains Catherine Cordrey and Sara Szynal each scored four goals, the Summit defense flummoxed Moorestown all game long, and junior Maddie Collins was again stellar in goal with nine saves.
Other than a semi-jittery opening couple of possessions in which they tried to force opportunities that really weren't there, even the most scrutinous observer would find it mondo-challenging to find crumbs of fault with Summit's performance.
Even when they were challenged in terms of draw control, the Hilltopper defense turned the Quakers over repeatedly, seven times alone in the first half. Stella Spotts blanketed Morristown's go-to offensive threat Quinn Nicolai, and Summit's offense methodically created and finished opportunities.
open the scoring for Summit on a Free Position opportunity at the 20:21 mark, and Cordrey followed suit on another Free Position shot at 17:55, blasting a missile high into the net. It was 3-0 Hilltoppers when Szynal curled to the front of the crease and found twine 27 seconds later.
Moorestown got on the board at the 12:02 mark when Caitlin Field scored, but Szynal scored a highlight goal at the 10-minute mark -- on the dot -- to give the Hilltoppers a 4-1 lead.
After a save by the Quakers goalie Jessica Goralski, Szynal pried the ball free as Goralski tried to initiate a clear. Picking up the ground ball, Szynal spun and fired into the vacated goal. It was a special moment from a special player, and it was emblematic of the determination and focus exhibited by the entire Hilltopper roster the entire game.
Nicolai cut the lead back to two at the 6:21 mark, but Summit finished the half strong, getting goals from Maggie Moriarty -- off a sweet Free Position pass from senior captain Julia Persche -- and a lob-and-quick-stick pass and score play from Cordrey to Forsyth.
The teams went to the break with the Hilltoppers in full control and ahead, 6-2.
If there was a window for Moorestown to make a comeback, Summit slammed it shut in the opening stages of the second half. Back-to-back-to-back goals from Szynal, a redux of the Persche to Moriarty play that worked like clockwork in the first half, and Szynal again made it 9-2 with 19:50 remaining.
Claire D'Antonio scored for the Quakers, but Persche's power move to the cage answered that tally, then Field found the back of the net for Moorestown only to see Cordrey swerve in and fire home with her left hand to make it 11-4.
Summit spread the field and Szynal got a step on her defender to make it 12-4 at 6:32. Robin Panzarella scored for Moorestown, but senior captain Callie Humphrey bore in on her left to rifle a shot into the goal and it was 13-5.
Cordrey and Persche bracketed a goal from D'Antonio to close out the scoring, and wave of white -- in the form of the entire Summit team -- raced to wash over Collins as the horn sounded.
"I thought we seemed tense before the game, but once we got on the field for warm-ups, we settled down," said Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh who, while praising his entire team's performance noted, "This was a win for our defense, that was the difference today."