MORRISTOWN, NJ - Playing a powerful opponent like Delbarton, a team has to stem the tide when the Green Wave goes on a goal run, or they will find themselves adrift in a hurry.
After playing a stout defensive half that saw the score tied 2-2 at the break, the Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team succumbed to a four-goal, third-quarter Delbarton burst -- three of the tallies came in a span of 1:26 -- that broke the contest wide open and proved the difference in the Green Waves' 7-3 win over the Hilltoppers.
Despite all of the statistical data being heavily in favor of Delbarton, Summit existed the opening 24 minutes tied, and came within 2.3 seconds of actually leading. The Hilltoppers did not win a first-half face-off and were outshot 18-9, but got a first-quarter goal from Eamon McTernan -- off a neat feed from Chris Fowler -- with 2.2 seconds left, and a second-quarter Harry Kilkowski laser to take a 2-1 lead.
Delbarton, which opened the scoring through Reed Gregory at 5:50 of the first quarter, was flummoxed for nearly the remainder of the half by a sound Maroon & White team defensive effort and the play of junior goalie Will Vitton who made five big stops. The Green Wave, however, turned the tables on the Hilltoppers and themselves scored in the waning seconds of the half, when Matt Campbell fired a shot from the left side that beat Vitton -- who appeared to be screened on the play -- with just 2.3 ticks left on the clock.
Even though it could have been deflating, Summit still should have felt pretty good about being level at the break, given the stat, possession, and territorial disparity.
The story of the third quarter -- and the game, for that matter -- was told in a three-goal Delbarton run that began with just over eight minutes remaining in the frame. Mike Long scored at the 8:15 mark and then again 12 seconds later. Down 4-2, Summit needed to regain its balance, but instead James Santoro beat Patrick Moriarty -- who started the second half in goal for the Hilltoppers -- at the 6:45 mark and Delbarton had upped the advantage to 5-2.
Given that possession had been at a premium for the visitors all game, Summit need the next goal, but the Green Wave got it via a missile from Tom Schelling. The tough-on-the-eyes-for-a-Summit-supporter third quarter came to an end with the boys from the 07901 trailing 6-2.
A glimmer of hope peered through the ashen skies overhead when senior captain Corey McManus took a feed from Kilkowski to narrow the deficit to three, at 6-3, with 8:40 left in the game, but Summit didn't get enough good looks the rest of the way to threaten the outcome. The Green Wave tacked on another goal with 1:56 left when the Hilltoppers had everyone -- including Moriarty -- chasing the ball.
Summit was outshot 32-18 and lost the ground ball and face-off contests 23-17 and 9-5, respectively. Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson noted that he felt his face-off men, led by Sam Zanelli, "did a good job of battling back in the second half."
"We made a few crucial turnovers today, but credit to Delbarton, they are a more polished and consistent team right now," said Davidson.
Summit, now 1-1 on the season, returns home to next take an another elite opponent, Westfield, April 4. Face-off is set for 4:30 p.m.