Delbarton embraces underdog role

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

After a year’s hiatus Delbarton is back on the lacrosse scene. The Green Wave can once again make its presence felt in a big way on Wednesday when they faceSummitin the Tournament of Champions semifinals.

Delbarton and two-time defending champion Summit meet today at 7 p.m. on the turf at Kean University in Union. The contest follows an equally interesting battle between second-seeded Immaculata and third-seeded Bridgewater-Raritan. Those two teams have split a pair of games this year.

There’s a lot at stake for both teams. Along with a trip to the title game, there’s the Hilltoppers’ 67-game winning streak which started after Summit lost to Delbarton 10-6 in the opener of the 2009 season. It’s been 26 months now, and the Hilltoppers have beaten the Green Wave in their last three meetings, including the 2009 Tournament of Champions title game.Summitdefeated Delbarton 9-5 in its regular-season matchup on April 30.

It’s been five years since Delbarton captured the T of C title. In some ways this year has been an unusual one for the Green Wave. Usually considered one of the favorites, they have been somewhat of an afterthought this year among the better teams in the state. However, the Morris County Tournament champions have embraced the underdog role and will try to take advantage of it against favored Summit.

 The Green Wave will have to find ways to gain possession and negotiate Summit’s tricky zone defense. It has been truly stifling this season. The Hilltoppers have allowed opponents an average of 2.8 goals a game. The most goals they have given up in one game was six, which occurred against Ridgewood and in their thrilling five overtime win against Chatham in the Group II final. Standout defender Jules Godino and goalkeeper Peter Badgely play key roles on the defensive end. Delbarton attackmen Patrick Foley, Clay Haarmann and Jack Malloy need to find scoring opportunities in order for the Green Wave to threaten.

Delbarton’s defense led by Harvard-bound Jack Breit will have to do their best to shut down Summit. It won’t be easy. Junior attackman Nick Kilkowski has 60 goals this season. Mike Ford and Sunny Round can also put shots in the net. Terry McKenna and Tim Yager are quality midfielders that also contribute.

Summit’s five-overtime battle with Chathamin the Group II final could be considered an aberration, Perhaps the strain of a lengthy winning streak and the consistent improvement of their opponents could end the Hilltoppers great run. It’s tough to say, but the first round T of C bye has given Summit plenty of time to get some rest, make the necessary corrections and put together a quality game plan.

More and more teams are adding zone wrinkles to trip up Summit’s offense. As always ground balls and a limited amount of mistakes and turnovers will be huge. Conditioning will also be important since it should be a hot night inUnionbut both teams have considerable depth. The contests should be interesting either way.

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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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