SUMMIT, NJ - Good teams find a way. A way, specifically, to win -- especially when certain elements of their game -- or the game -- are not going in their favor.
Like the draw, which definitely wasn't going the way of the Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team in their matchup versus Morristown. The Maroon and White were beaten on a staggering 17 out of 22 draws in the game, fell behind 4-1 relative early, but found a way to claw back and grind out a 9-6 win over the Colonials on the Upper Turf Field.
The contest was the Hilltoppers second in a back-to-back set of games against top-ranked opponents, with 12th-ranked Morristown traveling down Highway 24 just two days after Summit made the short trip to Oak Knoll and beat the Royals.
Captain Cecily Stabler had a Hat Trick, as did sophomore Katia Carnevale, as Summit improved to 5-1 on the season. Maddie Collins had four saves in goal for the Hilltoppers, while Callie Sundin paced the Colonials offense with two goals and two assists and goalie Amelia Drake was credited with 16 saves.
Mirroring the weather, Summit began brightly and then things got pretty darn cloudy real fast. Sophomore Anna Griffith scored three minutes in, but then Morristown popped four goals in a row, all within a six-minute span following Griffith's tally.
The Hilltoppers responded by going on a run that yielded three unanswered goals of their own to end the half, two coming from budding goal machine Carnevale and one from senior dynamo Stabler, tying the game 4-4 at the halftime break.
The three-goal trot that ended the opening 25 minutes morphed into a six-goal sprint in the early stages of the second half as Stabler would complete her Hat Trick with two goals after junior Helen Louise Johnson scored just 48 seconds into the half. Up 7-4 heading into the final 20 minutes of play, the tilt would finish with the two teams splitting four goals.
Morristown scored to end the six-goal Hilltopper tear but, just two minutes later, a phenomenal Hilltopper ride would lead to a beautiful play that saw an Anna-to-Anna connection with Griffith finding Anna DiSibio on the doorstep to push the Hilltopper advantage back to three.
Morristown responded quickly by, not-so-shockingly, winning the ensuing draw and scoring just a minute later. There were still 11 minutes remaining, but the hilltoppers delivered some stout defense, got another strike from Carnevale -- for her Hat Trick -- and did a nice job possessing the ball and siphoning the clock.
Post-game, Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh said the double-dip against top tier teams was yet another learning experience for his relatively young group. ”it's hard to come back from a big game like Oak Knoll and play a team with three legit Division I players. It's all about the draws, and we did not do well there. I thought we responded well though, and it was a pretty good game.”
The Hilltoppers’ next game will feature out-of-state competition as they travel April 15 for a taxing trip to New York, taking on a highly talented Smithtown West team. First draw is set for 12 p.m.
Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.