BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The sixth-seeded Summit High School Girls Ice Hockey Team built a four-goal lead and then withstood a late Pingry push to beat the third-seeded Big Blue 4-2 and book their trip to the NJSIAA State Tournament semifinals. There, on March 2, the Hilltoppers will face Trinity Hall, which showed its might by trouncing Chatham 9-1 in the quarterfinals.
Sophomore Leah Rubinshteyn set up junior Caroline Griffith's power play goal with 5:42 left in the opening period and the Maroon and White led 1-0. The tally was Sharpe's 32nd goal of the season. The duo then traded points places less than 30 seconds into the second stanza with Rubinshteyn finding the back of the net, assisted by Sharpe, and the Summit lead was doubled.
Sophomore Taylor Cornell scored unassisted just over five minutes later to bump The 'Top's lead to three, then lit the lamp again -- assisted by sophomore Libby Stockton and senior captain Lily Neilan -- with 1:29 to go in the period and Summit was flying, up 4-0.
In their last meeting, the Hilltoppers shutout Pingry and it looked like another whitewash was in the cards, but Big Blue's Aubrey Hanan and Julia Spinelli scored 78 seconds apart and, with 2:30 left in the game, the lead was suddenly cut in half.
Freshman goaltender Lily Spinner and her teammates held the fort, survived the nervy finish and now can look ahead to the semifinals.
Summit, now 14-6-2 on the season, outshot Pingry 20-16.
Summit will take on Trinity Hall at the Red Bank Armory on March 2. Face-off is set for 3 p.m. The Red Bank Armory is located at 76 Chestnut Street.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to now reflect Summit's semifinal opponent as well as the location and time of that game.