Summit Boys' Lacrosse Ekes Out Victory to Win State Group 1 Finals
Thursday, May 31, 2012 • 7:09am
LIVINGSTON, NJ – You could have cut the air with a knife, and it wasn’t just the humidity. A palpable tension hung over the field as the Summit boys’ lacrosse team faced off Wednesday night against Glen Ridge at Livingston High School, a neutral playoff site, for the Group 1 title.
In the first game for the Non Public A championship, early arriving Summit fans witnessed an epic Delbarton overtime, come from behind win over previously undefeated and nationally ranked Don Bosco Prep. Delbarton had been down by 4 goals with 2 minutes remaining in regulation.
The stage was set for an exciting evening of lacrosse.
In the first face off of the Group 1 game, Glen Ridge won possession and took it to the Summit goal to score within 45 seconds. But the Hilltoppers would answer back with a clean shot by senior captain David Kalin from 15 yards out. Middie Tommy Celmer showed some artful dodges to connect with Austin Carbone to make the score 2-1 Summit with 8:06 left in the first period.
Kalin soon followed up with a rocket shot that hit the side post and bounce in. Carbone saw an open Ryan Bringewatt who finished the job to make it 4-1. Summit was in solid control until Glen Ridge’s #13 Colin Goldstein capitalized on a quick face-off win with a pass to Nick Spitaletto to make the score 4-2 Summit at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, Summit demonstrated the methodical precision of one of New Jersey’s best offenses, even with a crushing Glen Ridge defensive coverage of #21 Nick Kilkowski. Glen Ridge held Kilkowski scoreless for the entire game but the relentless senior and leading goal scorer in the state would make a timely pass to Harry McCreary who fired tight in at the top of the crease for a 5–2 Summit lead at halftime.
The third period started to look like a script out of the entire Summit season when the Hilltoppers marched down field for three unanswered goals. The first, a drop from Kilkowski to junior Matt Maier. Then a great look by #4 Ryan Bringewatt to junior Michael Badgley to make it 7-2. Kalin scampered in for his third goal of the game which when combined with several dramatic saves by Summit goal tender Alex Salazar made the outcome seem preordained.
But the drama was just getting under way.
The final period opened with Summit sporting a comfortable 8-3 lead and seeming to fire on all cylinders.
What no one in the crowd of several hundred spectators, nor any player or coach on the field knew was that Alex Salazar had taken a sharp shot to the ribs and was stoically willing himself to the end.
Defenseman Tyler Carbone showed speed and flair on a coast to coast strip and carry of the ball to score for Summit in the opening 20 seconds of play. It was 9-3 Summit. The Glen Ridge bench and fans were silent. And then it all started to unravel.
Salazar came under laser like attack from every angle of play. Glen Ridge #18 Jamie Smith sent several shots at the Summit goalie which found their mark. The Glen Ridge fan base erupted as their team scored 5 goals in 9 minutes. With the official game clock showing 1:59 remaining it was 9-8 Summit but Glen Ridge had possession.
After 3 shots in 1 minute, Glen Ridge still hadn’t broken through. A questionable call by the game officials with 16 seconds left caused temporary confusion on the field and in the stands. Amazingly, the officials called for a stick measure of a Summit attackman.
Finally, with triple team coverage of Kilkowski the clock ran down and Summit was the Group 1 Champion.
“Those last 4 minutes were some of the toughest we’ve seen all year,” said Head Coach Jim Davidson. “Glen Ridge really got the transition going and put on lots of pressure in the 4th quarter. We need to tighten up some things this week” he continued.
In the post-game celebration Alex Salazar confessed “I took a shot in the ribs during the third but knew I could play through it.” Still, he and the entire Summit squad had truly earned this hard won battle.
Summit will likely earn a bye in the State Tournament seedings. With a few days rest the Hilltoppers will next play on Wednesday June 6th at Kean University.