WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - June lacrosse is in the cards for the Summit High School Boys Varsity as the Maroon and White have qualified for the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, capturing the Group 2 crown by beating Rumson-Fair Haven 9-1 at Shore Regional High School.
The Hilltoppers, who found themselves deadlocked at 0-0 after one quarter of play, eventually found a way to break down the Bulldogs, a team that certainly lived up to their mascot moniker over the first quarter and-a-half of lacrosse. Senior Tom Fischetti had a three-goal Hat Trick, classmate Nick Thomson and junior Greg Moller each scored twice, and senior captain Will Vitton came within 3:15 of a shutout and ended up with nine saves in goal.
Summit, winners of 11 games in a row and now 18-2 on the season, will almost certainly be the number-two seed, receive a first-round TOC bye, and then begin play in the TOC semifinals June 6 against an opponent to be determined.
That neither team scored over the first 17:11 of lacrosse was primarily down to both team's goalies, as Vitton made several key stops, especially early, and the Bulldogs' Sean Bunnell was doing a pretty good imitation of a brick wall, stoning several point-blank Hilltopper opportunities.
The breakthrough came almost midway through the second quarter when Moller fired a howitzer from straight on out into the lower left corner, a goal that was followed 71 seconds later by left-handed, side-armed missile from Frischetti that flew past Bunnell waist high. Fischetti completed the scoring with just 21 seconds left before the break and Summit had a 3-0 lead at the half.
Moller bounced a shot from the edge of crease inside the right right post with 5:25 to go in the third and, although the Hilltoppers lead was a fairly modest 4-0, the boys from the 07901 seemed to be in total control. Rumson-Fair Haven looked tepid on offense, either committing unforced turnovers or creating very little when they did manage to hang onto the ball.
Summit opened the goal taps in the final quarter and finished with a flourish. Thomson, Fischetti, Thomson again, junior Skyler Schluter and his classmate Gray Humphrey all found the back of the net, and the Hilltoppers had turned a relatively close game -- from a scoreboard point of view -- into a 9-0 rout. A late goal by the Bulldogs' Kiel Forlenza, while spoiling Vitton's shutout, did little to improve the optics for Rumson-Fair Haven.
"I thought we created opportunities tonight early, but their goalie stood on his head and we just have to find a way to put the ball in the goal there," said Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson. "We worked out way through it, and I am happy for our kids, who have worked really hard since we first came together last summer, have developed and now we have the opportunity to play against the best of the best."