NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - Holding a slim one-goal lead early in the second half, the Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team strung together four unanswered goals and went on to defeat Immaculate Heart Academy 11-6 at West Essex High School.
The win sends Summit into the NJSIAA Group 3 final June 2 at Kean University where the Hilltoppers will face south Jersey powerhouse Moorestown. Game time is set for 2 p.m.
Senior Emily Paytas had three goals and one assist, and a trio of juniors -- Anna Griffith, Katia Carnevale and Julia Szynal -- all scored twice for Summit. Senior captain Amy Martino had seven saves in goal for the Hilltoppers, including four in the ultra-close first half. Senior captain Helen Louise Johnson also scored for Summit.
For IHA, it was 'The Lexi Edmonds Show', with the sophomore scoring five of the Blue Eagles' six tallies. Edmunds ended her season with 87 goals.
Faced with an aggressive zone defense from IHA, Summit's offense could muster just four goals in a low-scoring, tight first half that ended 4-3 in favor of the girls from the 07901. Fortunately for the Hilltoppers, their defense -- anchored by senior captain Kaleigh Brennan and junior Claire Murdock -- was even more stout, and Summit won five of the half's seven draws.
After Carnevale scored at the onset of the final 25 minutes, the Maroon and White led 5-3, but IHA's MaryPat Sayre scored -- the only goal on the day by the visitors that came off the stick of someone not named Edmonds -- to again narrow the Hilltopper advantage to just a single goal.
Summit then went on the afore-mentioned four-goal jaunt -- courtesy of Carnevale, Griffith, Paytas and freshman Rileigh Meyer -- that broke open the game. Up 9-4, the Hilltoppers could manage their way home from there, and now move on to face a tough Moorestown team in a contest Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh says succinctly, "should be a battle."