SUMMIT, NJ - Coming into the season, for the first-time in recently memory, there was a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team. Most of the questions centered around the fact that the seniors who drove their state title-winning season are now in college, the relatively young and inexperienced squad following them inheriting a the target -- emblazoned 'champs' -- on their backs.
Though it is only the first game, it is safe to say that some of that uncertainty can be put to rest. Facing Mountain Lakes on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at the Summit High School Upper Turf field, the new-look Hilltoppers took care of business.
Hat Tricks from junior Helen Louise Johnson and sophomore Anna Griffith, along with a pair of goals each from senior captain Cecily Stabler and sophomore Katia Carnevale, powered the Hilltoppers to a 13-3 win. Senior Anna DiSibio, junior Emily Paytas and sophomore Julia Szynal also found the back of the net as Summit built an 8-0 first-half lead and rendered the final 25 minutes an extension of pre-season scrimmage play.
The Hilltoppers started off the game with a bang, scoring two goals in three minutes, through Carnevale and another from Johnson. A six-pack of tallies followed, including goals from DiSibio, Paytas and Griffith.
Tenacious rides from the attack were able to limit the Lakers to practically zero legitimate offensive possessions. However, if ‘Lakes was to beat the nearly unbeatable ride, the Summit defense, buffeted by sophomores Claire Murdock and Kate Tully along with Senior Captains Stella Spotts and Goalie Maddie Collins were able to lock down and maintain a shutout in the first half..
In the second half, Summit padded their lead via two early goals to start the half from Griffith and Stabler. Mountain Lakes was able to go on a 3-1 run, however it proved to be merely cosmetic as Summit would tack on two more goals from Szynal and Johnson’s Hat Trick goal,
Collins and Amy Martino, who relieved the senior captain in the second half, combined to make six saves for the Maroon & White.
After the game, Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh felt like most Summit fans felt about the afternoon. “There were a lot of questions coming into the season. Some of those questions were answered," then added, pragmatically, "But there are still a lot of questions to be answered. No team wins a championship in March.”
Much bigger questions will be asked, and size-proportionate answers will be needed on April 1, when Summit travels to Ridgewood for a 12 p.m. start. Much has changed since the Hilltoppers defeated the Maroons in the TOC final last June.
The rivalry, however, has definitely not.
Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.