Summit crushes Chatham

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

CHATHAM– Any Chatham lacrosse player that ventured near the Summit crease seemed to suffer the same fate. A crunching check by a defender that turned a possible goal into another missed opportunity.

The defending state-champion Hilltoppers showed everyone why they are the No. 1 team in New Jersey and they haven’t suffered a loss in 56 games. Terry McKenna and Tim Yager each scored twice to lead Summit to a 12-4 triumph over Chatham on Tuesday in a game at Cougar Field.

Nick Guida had a goal and an assist for Chatham which drops to 7-3. The Hilltoppers took control by scoring eight of the first nine goals to take a commanding halftime lead.

Chatham outshot Summit 19-15 at the half  but Summit keeper Pete Badgeley made some solid saves and even the good shots might have been rushed a bit because of the Summit defense’s prowess.

Summit defenseman Jules Godino tries to clear the ball while Chatham’s Sean Whiteman works to force him out.

“Defense stepped it up today,’’Summit coach Jim Davidson said. “I thought it was the most complete game we played defensively. We thought that they had a lot of threats and today we stepped it up and became a little bit more consistent as the game went on.’’

Some of those mistakes were created by the Hilltoppers defense. Summit also excelled in clearing the ball and connecting on offense.

“That’s our meal ticket,’’ said Summit defender Rob Williams about his team’s penchant for being physical and clearing out the crease. “Our zone is designed to work inside out. The first instinct is to look inside. If someone is there, you have to make them pay.’’

It was a tough loss for the Cougars, who had played well in both their other losses this season. Cougars coach Tony Calandra had no excuses. His team made too many mistakes and could not rally after they fell behind.

“We had 19 shots in the first half,’’ Calandra said. “I thought we had some quality shots. We just got run by the first five times they had the ball. You can’t fall behind 7-1 to a team like that.

“We turned the ball over entirely too much. We turned the ball over more than any game we played this year.’’

Chatham celebrates Matt Proto’s first-half goal during Tuesday’s loss to Summit.

Summit’s defensive personnel has good size and they are commendable communicators. Calandra said there is nothing special about their opponent’s matchup zone. The Cougars just didn’t execute.

“It’s man-to-man in a zone context,’’ Calandra said. “It’s just that we didn’t execute. As bad as we played defensively if we were able to score some goals, we would have been in the game. We just continued to throw the ball away time and time again.’’

The Summit defense was concerned about Chatham’s ability to score. Cougars’ Guida and Jack Eisenreich combined for 35 goals going into the game. On Tuesday they were held to just two. Chatham had chances to score early and showed patience while probing the Hilltoppers defense, but when it came to putting the ball in the net it just wasn’t going in.

When Summit did get the ball, they did a good job in pushing it for transition goals. They also won enough faceoffs and were deliberate on offense to build an advantage. Tom Celmer and McKenna each connected before Chatham’s Matt Proto converted a Sean Whiteman feed with 3:50 left to make it 2-1.

Then the Hilltoppers went on a roll as Yager, Sonny Round and Nick Kilkowski netted goals to end the quarter with a 5-1 advantage.

Summit’s Mike Stuke keeps pace with Chatham’s Matt Proto in the first half of Tuesday’s game.

Once Summit built its advantage it was tough for Chatham to work its way back.

Yager, McKenna and Mike Ford would connect goals in the second quarter and Summit would eventually build an 11-1 lead with the help of a goal from McKenna’s score with one second remaining in the third quarter. Chatham did put in some goals late in the game, but at that point it had already been decided.

“We have to play at a higher level,’’ Calandra said. “We have to get the ground ball. We were a step slow on everything. We turned the ball over a million times. We just have to get back to basics. Hopefully, we will see them again down the road.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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