SUMMIT, NJ - Ask Hall of Fame Summit Lacrosse Head Coach Mike Walsh -- on the eve of the season -- which element of his 2018 team's current play has been keeping him up at night, and his first response is likely to have zero to do with the Hilltopper offense, defense, draw control or transition game.
No, its been finding a place to practice or play, as snowstorms and broken plows have wreaked havoc on the Maroon and White's preparation. Scrambling to finds places -- indoors and outdoors -- to get on a field, Summit has, admittedly like most programs, been 'Snowmads' in the days and weeks leading up to the beginning of its campaign.
Nonetheless, expectations will be a high for a program that has made high expectations the norm and part of its DNA. State Champions in 2016, Tournament of Champions (TOC) finalists in 2014 and 2015, TOC semifinalists is 2013 and 2017, and Union County Champions 9 out of the last ten years -- not to mention the bushel basket of Divisional, Sectional and Group hardware they've earned -- have a way of keeping the bar pretty darn high.
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While graduation always takes a toll, many of the key components to last year's team are back, led by senior captains Helen Louise Johnson, Kaleigh Brennan, Anna Turk and Amy Martino. The group has adopted a 2018 theme of 'Rise Up'.
Of the four senior leaders, Martino saw the least amount of game action in 2017, but with just one goalie on the field she served her apprenticeship under Maddie Collins, who backstopped the Hilltoppers to a state title in 2017. Walsh believes Martino is ready to step in and continue the Summit legacy of strong last-line-of-defenders.
“Amy has worked hard as a captain and with the knowledge that she would be the starter this year," said Walsh. "She continues the Hilltopper tradition of next player up and we look forward to her being an important part of our team defense.”
Martino's lacrosse life will be buoyed by a core of experienced defenders, including Brennan, juniors Kate Tully and Claire Murdock, along with sophomore Eva Lambrianakos. Expect the unit to apply more 'on the ball' pressure this season.
The midfield again looks strong, led by Johnson, juniors Julia Szynal, Anna Griffith and sophomore Sophie Zachara and freshman Rileigh Meyer. Johnson, a strong performer throughout her Hilltopper career, took her game to a elevated level as last season progressed and was -- from an opposing defender's perspective -- at times, 'unplayable'. A jaw-dropping performance in the Union County Final, when she fiercely led an equally fierce comeback that sent the game to Overtime, could easily be used as Exhibit A to support her ascendant performances.
In attack, junior Katia Carnevale -- who scored 58 goals in '17 -- is a force, and she will be joined by classmate Anna Huntley-Robertson, along with seniors Turk, Ava Spotts and Emily Paytas.
Look for Griffith, Szynal, Johnson and Zachara to be in the draw control spotlight, either directly taking them and-or battling for the ensuing loose balls that result from them.
The journey will feature familiar elite foes, with Walsh noting that Ridgewood and Oak Knoll are again elite teams. The good news for Hilltopper Nation is that Summit will get both of those opponents at home this season.
“We play in a one of the toughest leagues in the country and always schedule nationally-ranked opponents," said Walsh. "This spring has been a challenge as it has been for all sports programs. If we want to achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we know we have a lot of work left to do.”
2018 Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team Roster
11 - Megan Abate, senior - Attack
13 - Kaleigh Brennan, senior - Defense
21 - Charlotte Cass, senior - Defense
7 - Ali Demakos, senior - Attack
22 - Molly Driscoll, senior - Attack
19 - Alexandra Haggerty, senior - Defense
10 - Helen Louise Johnson, senior - Midfield
30 - Molly Kasemeyer, senior - Attack
0 - Charlotte Kull, senior - Midflield
15 - Amy Martino, senior - Goal
9 - Emily Paytas, senior - Attack
2 - Ava Spotts, senior - Attack
6 - Natalie Schluter, senior - Defense
26 - Anna Turk, senior - Attack / Midfield
3 - Katia Carnevale, junior - Attack
24 - Isabella Cusumano, junior - Defense
5 - Anna Griffith, junior - Midfield
16 - Anna Huntley-Robertson, junior - Attack
12 - Claire Murdock, junior - Defense
8 - Kelsey Space, junior - Midfield
25 - Julia Szynal, junior - Midfield
23 - Katherine Tully, junior - Defense
1 - Kayleigh Driscoll, sophomore - Attack
4 - Eva Lambrianakos, sophomore - Defense
29 - Sarah McGhee, sophomore - Goal
18 - Bridget Moriarty, sophomore - Attack
14 - Sophie Zachara, sophomore - Midfield
27 - Skye Gilbert, freshman - Midfield
17 - Anna Gohring, freshman - Attack
20 - Quinn Meyer, freshman - Defense / Midfield
28 - Rileigh Meyer, freshman - Midfield
Mike Walsh, Head Coach
Laura Gibson, Associate Head Coach
Mary Kate Renehan, JV Head Coach
Katherine Taylor Lee, Freshman coach
Taylor Solaja, Program Assistant
Kate Martino, Program Assistant
2018 Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team Schedule
Mar 28, 4 p.m. v. Sparta
Apr. 2, 4 p.m. @ Glen Ridge
Apr 5, 4 p.m. v. Northern Highlands
Apr 7, 11 a.m. v. Oak Knoll
Apr 10, 4 p.m. v West Morris Mendham
Apr 12, 4 p.m. v. Ridgewood
Apr 14, 2 p.m. @ West Morris Central
Apr 17, 4 p.m. @ Randolph
Apr 20, 4 p.m. v. Chatham
Apr 21, 5 p.m. @ Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Apr 23, 4 p.m., @ Mountain Lakes
Apr 26, 4 p.m. v. WestfieldWestfield Summit High School
Apr 28, 2 p.m. @ Bronxville
May 7, 4 p.m. @ Ramapo
May 9, 4:30 p.m. v. Morristown
May 12, 11 a.m. @ Episcopal Academy, PA
May 2 Union County Tournament
May 5 Union County Tournament TBA TBA
May 11 NJSIAA State Tournament Cut-off
May 15 NJSIAA First Round
May 18 NJSIAA Second Round
May 22 NJSIAA Sectional Semi-Finals
May 25 NJSIAA Sectional Finals
May 30 NJSIAA State Group Semi-Finals
June 2 NJSIAA Group Finals
June 6 Tournament of Champions (TOC) Semifinals
June 9 TOC Final