SUMMIT, NJ - Under threatening skies at Investors Bank Field, the Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team -- for the third straight game to open their season -- faced an opponent whose nature matched the looming weather pattern.
On this day, the foe was Westfield, a match-up that would complete the tough triad of tests that began with a victory at Seton Hall Prep and was followed by a weekend loss at Delbarton.
Given the circumstance, Summit had to be ready and likely wanted to prove their bouncebackability. The Maroon & White validated those criteria and then some, delivering a top-to-bottom quality performance to defeat the Blue Devils, a bona-fide quality adversary, 5-2 to win their second game of the young campaign.
Sophomore Harry Kilkowski and senior captain Corey McManus each had two goals, and Will Vitton produced 12 big saves to pace Summit, who were strong in all phases and held the lead for the game's final 27 minutes.
The Blue Devils opened the scoring at the 11:28 mark when Nick Bond scored. For the next 11-plus minutes, both teams' defenses took turns stymieing the offenses, either by dispossessing them of the ball, or through solid stops from the goalies.
The Hilltoppers finally broke through when, on a man-up situation, Chris Fowler found McManus who rifled a shot past Westfield's Jack McCauley to knot things at 1-1.
Things stayed defensive for the high-majority of the second quarter until Kilkowski turned and fired past McCauley at the 3:02 mark to put Summit ahead 2-1, which is how the teams went to the break.
Kilkowski struck again at the 6:50 mark of the third quarter, using a swivel move to beat his defender, but Westfield came right back just over a minute later through Matt Rittendale, and the Summit lead was trimmed back to one at 3-2 heading to the final quarter.
A two-goal lead in a lacrosse game can vanish in the blink of an eye, but when sophomore Greg Moller drove to his right and bounced a shot high into the net, the Hilltoppers' 4-2 lead -- given the game's defensive vibe -- seemed huge.
Vitton and the defense in front of him held the fort the rest of the way, and McManus added an insurance goal with 2:51 remaining, off an assist from Kilkowski, to cement the result.
Summit came out on top in the stat battle, claiming an edge in face-offs (6-4), ground balls (20-17), and shots (38-31).
"We looked at a lot of film, learned from mistakes we made, and stepped up defensively," said Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson. "We improved our overall play from the last game and beat a very good team today."
Summit stays home to next face Old Bridge April 6. Face-off at Investors Bank Field is set for 4:30 p.m.