SUMMIT, NJ - When you're 'King of The Ring' every challenger is looking to take away the championship belt. Every time a earnest opponent enters the arena of battle, the champ knows they are going to get their best shot.
Such is the case for the Summit High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team. Even though this is a different year, a different team, they still are the defending TOC Champions, and virtually every team they face -- especially those that are aggressively climbing the girls LAX ladder -- are looking to defeat The Maroon and White and get that signature win.
Enter Glen Ridge, a talented and upwardly-mobile unit that -- to their credit -- decided to come to the Upper Turf Field and go toe-to-toe with the Hilltoppers. And, for the first half of the opening half, that is exactly what they did.
Both teams traded punches -- in the form of goals -- with the visitors answering after each of the home side's first three tallies. But the Hilltoppers drew the line defensively and continued to pound away offensively, scoring seven of the next eight goals to close out the first half and open the second, and then coaster-breaking their way to 12-8 win.
Senior captain Cecily Stabler had four goals, and a trio of 'Toppers -- Helen Louise Johnson, Katia Carnevale, and Julia Szynal -- each had a pair of scores, as Summit won its sixth straight. Senior captain Maddie Collins ended the game with seven saves in goal.
Colleen Grady had three goals to pace the Ridgers, while goalie Liz Kinley was credited with 12 saves.
The first seven minutes of the contest saw six goals, three by each team. Strikes by Johnson, Szynal and Carnevale were answered by Glen Ridge goals in short order, the visitor's prowess on the draw and their offensive athleticism giving the Hilltoppers some problems.
Better ball possession and some patient offensive sets started to yield goals for the home team, however, as Stabler, Anna Griffith, Anna Huntley-Robertson and Stabler's second gave Summit a 7-4 halftime lead.
The Hilltoppers pedigree was on display in the early stages of the second half. As the weather turned borderline nasty, so did -- proportionately -- The Maroon and White's finishing, with Szynal, Stabler's Hat Trick goal, and Johnson's second expanding Summit's lead to 10-4.
The space was needed as Glen Ridge fought back to make it 10-6, but Carnevale and Stabler slammed the door shut with back-to-back rips, Stabler doing a bit of a somersault after her blast, Playing hard to the end, the Ridgers potted two late goals, but the outcome had been settled before that.
"Glen Ridge is a very talented offensive team, and they have a number of kids that can flat-out play," said Summit Head Coach Mike Walsh. "After a slow start, we did a better job on the draw and the '50-50' balls. We were a bit sloppy in transition, which we have to continue to work on, but I like how hard this group battles."
Next up for Summit is a geographically neighborly encounter at Chatham April 21. Game time is set for 4 p.m.