SUMMIT, NJ - Suffice it to say that, in the mythical tome 'Ten Musts to Beating Delbarton in Lacrosse', one will not find the words, "Spot Them a Six-Goal Lead."
The same reader will likely look in vein to also discover, "Play Them Right After They Have Suffered Defeat at the Hands of a Morris County Rival."
Unfortunately for the Summit High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team -- and, by extension, all of Hilltopper Nation -- both of those non-existent instructions became part of Maroon and White reality at Investors Bank Field as Summit -- playing the Green Wave five days after they were beaten by Chatham -- fell behind by a six-pack of first-half tallies and never truly recovered, falling to Delbarton 10-6.
The loss, Summit's first of the season against seven wins, was like an old episode of the early 2000's camp television series "Fear Factor," specifically the segments where contestants were challenged to eat something most would find inedible -- such as Tomato Hornworms. Meaning, at times tough to watch and ultimately even more difficult to stomach.
The Hilltoppers, looking a bit stunned midway through the second quarter, actually regrouped and battled like mad until the final horn. They narrowed the visitors' lead to 6-3 with just under eight minutes to go in the third quarter, but gave up the next three goals to make their fourth-quarter push verifiably valiant, but ultimately much too late.
Seniors Nick Thomson and Tom Fischetti each had two goals for Summit, and senior captain Will Vitton made 15 saves.
Matt Campbell had a first-half Hat Trick and four goals overall, Mike Long and Tom MacCowatt each had two scores, while Miles Leniw had seven stops to pace the Green Wave.
Delbarton's offense was executing with efficiency in a first quarter that saw them take a 3-0 lead. Chet Comizio, Campbell and Long had the goals, and Summit had the makings of a big problem as the Green Wave are not an opponent a team wants to fall behind to, especially significantly.
When they had the ball, Summit looked a bit stilted and could not find a way to put a ball past Leniw, and soon their potential large issue became a mountain size challenge when, beginning at the 6:11 mark of the second quarter, Delbarton scored three more goals in a four-minute span of game-clock time. Campbell, MacCowatt and Campbell again made it 6-zip.
A glimmer of hope for the Hilltoppers and their faithful arrived just before the half's final horn did, when Summit got on the board after dispossessing the Green Wave with 15 seconds to go and racing down the field to score with 4.8 seconds left before halftime with Thomson doing the honors.
Summit's real push in the game came in the third quarter and was fueled by added ball possession, aggressive work on ground balls and the Green Waves sudden propensity to take penalties. Fischetti and classmate Eamon McTernan scored on consecutive man-up situations and the Hilltoppers had scaled part of the hill and trailed by three, at 6-3.
Momentum appeared to be pulling on a home team jersey, and the accompanying window of opportunity for the boys from the 07901 was palatable. The next goal would be big, and the next three would likely write the day's story, and the full trio of tallies that followed all went the way of the visitors.
Campbell and Long made it 8-3 by the end of the third quarter, and MacCowatt pretty much ended the modicum of suspense that existed when he scored at 11:13 of the final frame.
Harry Kilkowski, Thomson and Fischetti would all score goals in the fourth quarter, the latter two scores coming inside the final 1:12 of the game with the outcome already decided.
"Delbarton came out with speed and energy, forced us to play from behind and we pressed," said Summit Head Coach Jim Davidson. "In the second half, we gained some more possession, won some ground balls and got it back to 6-3. We battled all game, but we couldn't get a play there and they were able to extend their lead again."
Next up for Summit is the Kyle Kirst NJ / MA Challenge April 28, with the Hilltoppers taking on Hingham, MA, at 12 p.m. The game will be preceded by Seton Hall Prep versus Andover, MA, at 10 a.m. and followed by Chatham against Lincoln-Sudbury, MA, at 2 p.m. All games are at Investors Bank Field.