SUMMIT, NJ - Four goals from senior captain John Cordrey, combined with a suffocating performance by the defensive unit, was more than enough to lift the Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team over Ramapo, 9-1, and into the NJSIAA Sectional Finals.
The top-seeded Hilltoppers will face number-three seed Chatham, who defeated Sparta 11-8. It will be a rematch of the March 31 "snow globe shutout," when Summit blanked the Cougars 5-0 in a game played in a spring snowfall.
The core strength of every Jim Davidson-coached team is defense, and this Hilltopper team is no exception. Ramapo simply could not break down the Maroon & White defense, at times possessing the ball for three or four minutes, but unable to get off a quality shot.
While the defense and goalie Jay Winchell were shutting down the Raiders offense, the Hilltoppers own offense methodically put the game away.
In the first quarter, Cordrey fed Corey McManus on a fast break to open the scoring at the 9:15 mark. Summit doubled their advantage when Cordrey powered to the middle and scored at 6:18. It was 3-0 when McManus got his second of the game -- again assisted by Cordrey -- on a man-up situation. Evan Kulpan closed out the scoring in the opening frame, finding the back of the net with just under two minutes left.
Less than a minute into the second it was 5-0, when Andrew Chase scored. After a couple of failed possessions, Ramapo got their only goal of the game on a bit of a broken play at the 4:47 mark., A Hilltopper stick check in front of the Summit goal dislodged the ball, but it ricocheted right to a green jersey and Winchell had no chance.
The third quarter saw two Summit goals and two big saves from Winchell, who finished with six stops in the game. McManus fed Cordrey for his second on the day at 3:07 to make it 6-1, before Cordrey got his Hat Trick goal with 17 seconds left in the third.
Play got increasingly chippy in the fourth quarter as Summit tacked on two goals -- from Chris Zanelli and Cordrey's fourth -- and the Raiders realized their season was finished.
"We did a good job holding a quality team to one goal and, offensively, we are seeing the opportunities and getting good looks, we just have to finish at higher rate," said Davidson.
Summit, 16-4 on the season, now faces a resurgent Chatham team that is vastly improved compared to the squad the Hilltoppers faced nearly two months ago. After losing seven games in a row at one point during the season, the Cougars have won 13 out of 15.
Davidson knows it will take an elevated effort to beat their next-door neighbors. "We are going to have to take better care of the ball, and make better decisions when we have it."
Face-off for the May 23 Sectional Final at Investors Bank Field is set for 12 p.m.
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