SUMMIT, NJ - It was hard to tell which was hotter during the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 Boys Lacrosse Sectional Final at Investors Bank Field: the heat index on the field due to Guam-like climes, or the team wearing Maroon and White, which is playing like it's on a mission.
That quest -- the Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team's pursuit of state glory -- will continue onto the next stage as the Hilltoppers delivered their second commanding win of the season over Chatham, this time by the tune of 10-3 in the Sectional Final.
The victory, Summit's 17th of the season, brought another piece of hardware to the Kent Place Boulevard campus' trophy case and sends the boys from the 07901 on to face South section winner Rumson Fair-Haven on May 30.
Senior Eamon McTernan had four goals, including three in a row during a third-quarter stretch that saw the home team take full control of the game, and classmate Tom Fischetti had a Hat Trick to fuel Summit's offense.
Hilltopper goalie Will Vitton continued his senior athletic, multi-seasonal wizardry over the Cougars, stoning the visitors for 18 saves. Between ice hockey and lacrosse combined, all Vitton has done head-to-head against Chatham this year is go 4-0 and win both a State Championship and Sectional Championship.
Summit was rock-solid in a first quarter the saw them take a 3-0 lead. Goals from senior Nick Thomson, Fischetti and McTernan and a six-minute defensive stand that was -- even putting the 100-plus degree heat on the turf aside for a moment -- pretty darn impressive, meant the Hilltoppers were off to a near-perfect start.
Ryan Decker, who scored all three Chatham goals on the day, narrowed the Summit lead to two just 36 seconds into the second stanza, but freshman Luke Dinola found Fischetti with 3:43 to go before the half and the Hilltoppers had a 4-1 lead, an advantage they would take to the break.
Decker's second of the day made it 4-2 at the 6:20 mark of the third and it appeared Chatham could get on a roll. But some big-time work by Messrs. Sajer, Waldron, Yorio, Donaldson, and Tyler, et al., and a couple of fine stops from Vitton, set the stage for Summit to seize control of the momentum and, ultimately, the game.
McTernan fired a 'natural' Hat Trick in a span of 4:07, and then Fischetti put the maraschino on the rapidly melting sundae by whipping home a long-range, wicked bounce shot with just 3.5 seconds left in the quarter that was fired with ferocity and flair into the turf from straight-on out and then kangarooed into the upper-left corner of the net.
Deflated and likely fairly dehydrated, Chatham continued to press but looked the beaten side throughout the final frame. When senior captain Harry Kilkowski scored a pair of goals it was 10-2 Summit and, even though Decker got his third near the end, there could be no doubt which team deserved to keep playing lacrosse this season.
"Today says a lot about out team," said Jim Davidson. "Guys have stepped up, picked each other up and we have fought through some adversity and gotten a lot better since he start of the season."
Summit will now play Rumson Fair-Haven May 30 in the Group Final at Shore Regional High School. Face-off is set for 5 p.m. Shore Regional High School is located at 132 NJ-36 in West Long Branch.