NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - In a season full of milestones and downright unbelievable numbers, the Summit Hilltoppers boys lacrosse team reached another plateau when they finished the 2010 regular season with an unblemished record after a convincing 12-4 victory over the West Essex Knights on Friday afternoon. Yet even as they look back upon a regular season that consisted of 15 mostly dominant victories and zero losses, both the players and especially head coach Jim Davidson know that all those wins will mean absolutely nothing if the Hilltoppers suffer their first loss at any point from here on.
With a double bye in the upcoming Union County Tournament because they are the No. 1 seed overall - as well as being ranked the No. 1 team in the state of New Jersey by several media outlets - Davidson and his squad will settle for nothing less than a repeat of last year's postseason success when they won the Union County Tournament championship, a Group 2 State Sectional title with a win over Moorestown and beat Delbarton in the annual Tournament of Champions for an overall state championship, not to mention taking over the title of "best team in New Jersey." It is a title that the Hilltoppers have put a stranglehold on this season and have no plans of relinquishing this postseason.
"From my perspective, I'm really proud of this team," Davidson said after the game. "Now, we need to keep working hard and be ready for the Union County Tournament."
Against West Essex, the Hilltoppers held a modest three-goal lead at halftime, but Davidson's team turned up the heat in the second half and outscored the Knights 7-2 to win the game going away. Summit was led by All-American attacker Johnny Scioscia who tallied three goals and assisted on three others. Marcel Godino tacked on three scores of his own to push his team-high goal total to 32 on the year. Nick Kilkowski added six assists and one goal for a game-high seven points and the Hilltoppers got two goals from Mike Ford along with a goal each from Sonny Round, Nolan Prinzen and Terry McKenna to round out the scoring. Summit also controlled the face-off circle as Danny Feeney (11-for-15) and Michael Tsiang (4-for-4) dominated their West Essex counterparts on draws. Yet again, it was not only a solid team effort, but a balanced one as well.
Even as the Hilltoppers dispatched another good team - West Essex entered the game with a 12-1 record, their only loss coming against Chatham back on April 13th - with relative ease, those who follow lacrosse in this state have been waiting for several weeks for the Union County Tournament. Because of the double bye, Summit will next be in action on May 12th against either No. 4 Cranford, No. 6 Governor Livingston or No. 7 Oratory Prep.
Even after that lay-off, the Hilltoppers' first tournament game will provide an initial glimpse of the machine in action during postseason's opening tournament. Of course, most observers feel that Summit will win the UCT outright and they very well may do just that, but the transition from regular season games to single-elimination tourney play is important because as Davidson and his players have been saying for nearly two weeks, a loss in any of the upcoming tournaments means that the team will "go home." It is evident on the faces of the players and in the words of their head coach that no one on the Summit sideline will be willing to accept such a fate.
In fact, the only things the Hilltoppers would be willing to accept after their undefeated regular season are a few more championship trophies.