SUMMIT, NJ - Anyone who has come home to find their television displaying a 'no signal' pattern knows what to do. After their panic subsides, they check all the sundry cords -- jiggling, unplugging and plugging, and ensuring that the connections are proper and secure. Then, the set is turned off, then on again and, hopefully -- voila! -- they get a picture-perfect response.
That is pretty much what the Summit High School Boys Varsity lacrosse team did in their matchup versus West Essex at Investors Bank Field. After surrounding three goals on the Knights' first three shots of the game, Summit did all of the above, sans the panic, and reset their picture.
The result was a second-quarter goal blitz, buttressed by a enhanced commitment to win ground balls and defend with vigor, all of which combined to create a dynamic that yielded a comprehensive 15-4 victory.
The win, Summit's seventh straight, upped The Maroon and White's record to 8-1. During the current victory span, the Hilltoppers have outscored the opposition 79-16, allowing an average of less than 2.3 goals per game.
The game, offensively, was another 'K-C Masterpiece', with Harry Kilkowski and Corey McManus each scoring five goals. Will Vitton made three saves and was spelled in the fourth quarter by Patrick Moriarty who was credited with one stop.
Jake Evangelista opened the game's scoring at 9:48, but the Hilltoppers answered with consecutive goals from sophomore Jackson Tyler and McManus, who was set up by Kilkowski.
After Pat Dingwell leveled things for West Essex with just under five minutes left in the opening frame, Jack Johnson took a pass from Eamon McTernan and twinkle-toesed -- in a fashion that would make a prima ballerina proud -- his way through a few Knights defenders and scored from in front. At the end of the first quarter, Summit led 3-2.
Just over a minute into the second stanza, West Essex's Zach Lemanski tied things again at 3-3, but then Summit ratcheted up its entire game and contest went from being even to no contest at all.
The Hilltoppers slotted four goals in a three and a-half minute stretch, with Kilkowski, McTernan, Kilkowski, and a waist-high rip from sophomore Greg Moller doing the damage. The cherry on the sundae was a sweet, diagonal feed from Tyler to McManus on the crease with just 2.6 seconds left in the half and Summit led 8-3 at the break.
The Hilltoppers 'sealed the deal' in the third quarter, adding three more goals, two by Kilkowski and one by McManus, and riding the daylights out of the West Essex clear.
The final quarter was more of the same, with McManus hitting the back of the net twice, Kilkowski netting his fifth, and sophomore Skyler Schluter capping off the day with his first-ever Varsity goal.
The emphatic win came with emphatic stats, as Summit had a big edge in shots (31-10) and ground balls (30-16). Displaying senior leadership, captain Finn McTernan gobbled up five ground balls to lead the Hilltoppers.
Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson was succinct when asked what the difference was when the game swung dramatically in the Hilltoppers' way in the second quarter. "Effort and communication. We started winning ground balls and we did a good job on the ride."
The Hilltoppers will need to be ready from the hop in their next game, which sees them make the short trip to take on a very strong Chatham team April 22. Face-off is set for 4:30 p.m.