Summit ends Delbarton’s stellar season

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

UNION – It seemed logical.Summit’s 67-game winning streak started after a Delbarton defeat. It would be perfect symmetry for the Green Wave to end the Hilltoppers three years of dominance with a victory on Wednesday.

However, the only numbers Summit believed was its 10-5 victory over Delbarton in the Tournament of Champions semifinal round contest on theKean University campus.

Attackman Nick Kilkosky fired a hat trick and Sonny Round and Terry McKenna scored two goals apiece forSummitwhich improved its record to 23-0 on the season and 68-0 since its last defeat in the opening game of the 2009 season.

The Hilltoppers will play for their third consecutive Tournament of Champions title when they face Bridgewater-Raritan on Saturday. The Panthers toppled Immaculata 12-7 in the first game of Wednesday’s double header.

Midfielders Peter McMullen and Ben Reynolds each scored a pair of goals for Delbarton. The Non-Public A champion trailed from the outset and stayed within striking distance until the final quarter.

Summit defenseman Mike Stuke picks up a ground ball but Delbarton’s Jack Clarke (3) and Kenny Kieran (25) are in hot pursuit.

The Delbarton players were emotional and determined to advance to the title game for the first time since 2009, which also resulted in a loss toSummit. Despite their best efforts, a victory just wasn’t to be.

“We really wanted to get back into the swing of things,’’ Delbarton defenseman Jack Breit said. “It’s a tradition at Delbarton to get into the T of C. The Summit streak started with us, we wanted it to end with us. They played a great game and we didn’t have it.’’

‘They are just a very good team,’’ Delbarton coach Chuck Ruebling said. “They are very disciplined. They are well coached. They have some great players. We just made too many mistakes and they forced us to make mistakes.’’

Summit took a 3-1 first-quarter advantage and never allowed Delbarton to tie or take a lead the rest of the game. Their stifling defense, which allows an average of 2.8 goals a game, came to play once again.

“They talk about the zone but they just have some very good defensive players,’’ Ruebling said. “You still have to play defense. Whether they are man-to-man or zone, they have a very good goalie and they play good defense. They have some great athletes and they have to play well man-to-man to make it work. (Jules) Godino is one of the best defensemen in the state and the other guys are pretty good and their D-middies are fast and they get the ball out. No matter what they threw at you they would do a good job.’’

Summit focused its efforts on stifling Delbarton’s usually potent attack. Between Clay Haarmann, Patrick Foley and Jack Malloy, Haarman was limited to a goal and Malloy an assist. Their strategy was simple.

“Defensively we wanted to make sure we stayed on their hands,’’Summit coach Jim Davidson said. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t get their hands free shooting wise.’’

Delbarton’s Dean Brierley fights off a Summit defender in early T of C action.

Summit showed no leftover symptoms from the narrow five overtime victory against Chathamin last week’s Group II final. During practices the Hilltoppers worked offensively on just moving the ball better and making sure the players were making crisp cuts.

“We looked at things and we felt that we needed to play better in different situations,’’ Davidson said. “Today we played better on both the offensive and defensive ends. We tried to move to the ball and clear space and do some of those things. We felt like we got caught standing a couple of times (against Chatham). Sometimes that happens.’’

Delbarton did have some opportunities. They rallied at the end of the second quarter with back-to-back goals by McMullen and Reynolds. When Reynolds connected with 15.8 seconds it made it a 6-4 game at the half. Ruebling had praise for both his midfielders.

“They are competitors,’’ Ruebling said. “They didn’t want their season to end tonight and they tried to will their way through it and I’m very proud of them.’’

However, any momentum gained going into the half was lost when play started up again. A Green Wave slashing penalty set up McKenna’s man-advantage goal with eight minutes left in the third quarter to make it a 3-goal game. It was the only score of the quarter. Both teams had good scoring opportunities and there were some memorable loose ball scrambles.Summitstill enjoyed a 7-4 lead going into the final quarter, but Davidson made sure his players were not taking anything lightly against Delbarton.

Peter McMullen (18) scored twice to help the Delbarton cause during Wednesday’s T of C semifinal.

“Jack Breit is a threat, he’s a great defensive player,’’ Davidson said. “You look at their attack, Malloy and Haarmann they are quality players. McMullen can hurt you; (John) Shaffer can hurt you. When those guys get their hands free they can hurt you and their face off man (Jack) Clarke does a good job.

“We couldn’t have a let down and coach Ruebling does a great job so you know that it’s going to be a big game and they are going to play hard.’’

Summit scored early and played brilliant defense to earn its 68th consecutive victory.

Summit iced the game by scoring two of the next three goals in the final period. The hot and humid conditions made it difficult for any team to overcome a four-goal deficit. As the clock ticked away the Green Wave realized it would have to be satisfied with the season as it stood. They gained Morris County Tournament and Non Public A titles and helped the lacrosse program retain its status as a force to be reckoned with once again in the Garden State.

“We came out this year with a little edge on our shoulder,’’ Breit said. “We wanted to put Delbarton back on the map and I think we did going into the end of the season.’’

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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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