Summit girls’ lacrosse captures 8th straight UCT championship; Tops arch rival Oak Knoll 16-11 behind 5-goal game from standout senior Sara Szynal

Hilltoppers, who led 7-0 before Oak Knoll scored, are now 14-1

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Summit players hoist the trophy after winning 8th straight UCT title.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Summit players hoist the trophy after winning 8th straight UCT title.
Summit standout senior Sara Szynal (No. 25), center, scored a game-high five goals vs. Oak Knoll.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Summit standout senior Sara Szynal (No. 25), center, scored a game-high five goals vs. Oak Knoll.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Summit's Samantha Forsyth (No. 26 at left) battles an Oak Knoll player for possession.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Summit’s Samantha Forsyth (No. 26 at left) battles an Oak Knoll player for possession.

CLARK – Standout senior Sara Szynal was, obviously, very happy, but also even a bit taken back after her Summit Hilltoppers scored the game’s first seven goals against such a formidable foe.

“Oak Knoll has some amazing players, so, yeah, while we were really pumped and came out and had a really great start it was a bit surprising to be up by that much early on,” Szynal said.

One of the greatest strategies in sports is to try to take the lead as early as possible and hold on to it for the rest of the game. Summit led from start to finish against arch rival Oak Knoll after getting out to one of its best starts ever in a championship setting.

Szynal, who will continue playing in the Big Ten at Northwestern, was a big reason why the Hilltoppers were able to dominate early and maintain their advantage for the full 50 minutes.

Szynal scored a game-high five goals and added one assist to help lead top-seeded Summit to a more-than-convincing 16-11 triumph over second-seeded Oak Knoll in Saturday’s 10th annual girls’ lacrosse Union County Tournament championship game, which was contested at Johnson High School’s Nolan Field for the seventh straight year.

Summit improved to 14-1, while Oak Knoll fell to 8-6.

Summit won the UCT for the eighth year in a row and has now appeared in the last nine finals. Oak Knoll, which has now lost in the final two years in a row and four times in the last five, won the UCT for the only time in the first year of the event, which was in 2007 over Kent Place. That was the only year Summit did not reach the final.

On Saturday, Oak Knoll senior Cassie Ford, who will continue playing at Notre Dame, led all scorers with seven points, scoring three goals and adding four assists.

Scoring four goals were Summit senior and standout defender Callie Humphrey and Oak Knoll sophomore Claire Galvin. Humphrey will next play at Duke.

Making her presence felt in goal in a big way after Summit built a big lead was Hilltopper junior goalie Maddie Collins, who finished with seven saves. She had some big ones in the first half and even bigger ones in the second, including a stop when, with 10:22 remaining, Oak Knoll was seeking to cut the deficit to three.

Syznal scored all five of her goals in the first half. Summit jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the game was four minutes old and led 7-0 with 15:26 left in the first half.

“The key for us was getting the draws,” Szynal said. “We didn’t get as many in the second half.”

Summit led 12-7 at intermission, with Oak Knoll scoring the last goal of the first half with less than two seconds remaining. The Royals then pulled to within four goals for the only time at 14-10 when Galvin scored her third goal on an assist from sophomore Annabelle Zabrowski.

Summit won the regular season game over Oak Knoll by a 14-10 score back on April 12 at Summit.

There was still more than 11 minutes remaining when Oak Knoll got it to four goals. Collins then came up with a huge save with just over 10 minutes remaining to keep Summit’s lead at the time at four goals.

“Maddie has been awesome, day in and day out for us,” Szynal said.

Summit responded offensively, with senior Julia Persche scoring her third goal unassisted at the 7:30 mark to make it 15-10.

Instead of Oak Knoll scoring again and pulling to within three, a Collins save and then a Persche goal made it a five-goal game once again.

Summit added one more insurance goal when senior Isabel Zachara netted her only goal.

Galvin’s fourth goal was the game’s final score, making it 16-11 with 1:26 remaining.

Summit then won the next faceoff and was able to control possession for the game’s remaining moments.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to do what we’ve done in this tournament,” Szynal said.

NOTES: Oak Knoll was without junior standout and Stanford commit Ali Baiocco, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. She played in the regular season game last month and scored twice.

 

 

UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT

GIRLS’ LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

2-Oak Knoll (8-6)                                    07              04              – 11

1-Summit (14-1)                                      12              04              – 16

 

 

OAK KNOLL SCORING:

Goals: Claire Galvin (4), Cassie Ford (3), Kate Kelly (2), Annabelle Zebrowski (2).

Assists: Cassie Ford (4), Annabelle Zebrowski (2).

Saves: Jackie McCall (5).

 

SUMMIT SCORING:

Goals: Sara Szynal (5), Callie Humphrey (4), Julia Persche (3), Catherine Cordrey (2), Cecily Stabler (1), Isabel Zachara (1).

Assists: Maggie Moriarty (3), Julia Persche (2), Sara Szynal (1).

Saves: Maddie Collins (7).

 

UCT GIRLS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES, SITES

 

2016: Summit 16, Oak Knoll 11 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the top seed and Oak Knoll the second seed.

 

2015: Summit 10, Oak Knoll 8 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the second seed and Oak Knoll the top seed.

 

2014: Summit 12, Westfield 4 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the top seed and Westfield the third seed.

 

2013: Summit 10, Oak Knoll 9 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the top seed and Oak Knoll the second seed.

 

2012: Summit 17, Oak Knoll 7 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the top seed and Oak Knoll the second seed.

 

2011: Summit 16, Kent Place 12 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the top seed and Kent Place the second seed.

 

2010: Summit 15, Oak Knoll 12 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

Summit was the third seed and Oak Knoll the top seed.

 

2009: Summit 11, Kent Place 6 – at Governor Livingston

Summit was the top seed and Kent Place the second seed.

 

2008: Kent Place 13, Summit 10 – at Kent Place’s Pat Conley Field

Kent Place was the top seed and Summit the second seed.

 

2007: Oak Knoll 20, Kent Place 13 – at Kent Place’s Pat Conley Field

Oak Knoll was the top seed and Kent Place the third seed.

 

CHAMPIONSHIPS:

 

Summit (8)

 

Kent Place (1)

 

Oak Knoll (1)

 

 

WESTFIELD COMES BACK LATE IN FOURTH PERIOD

AND THEN WINS IN DOUBLE OVERTIME TO STUN UNDEFEATED SUMMIT IN BOYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

 

In probably even more dramatic fashion that last year’s triple-overtime championship game victory over Summit, Westfield was able to repeat as boys’ lacrosse Union County Tournament champions for the second time Saturday night.

Second-seeded Westfield’s 7-6 double-overtime victory over top-seeded and undefeated Summit in the 14th annual UCT championship game – contested at Johnson High School’s Nolan Field – saw the 6-8 Blue Devils tie the game at 6-6 with just 11 seconds left on a goal by none other than senior goalie Toby Burgdorf.

Evan Kulpan, who netted a game-high four goals, scored for Summit with less than nine minutes left to give the Hilltoppers a 6-4 lead. They held that lead until Westfield scored with half a minute to go to pull to within 6-5.

Burgdorf came up big again – this time with a save – to keep the score at 6-6 in double overtime. Then teammate Devon McLane scored his only goal to give the Blue Devils their seventh victory of the season and fourth UCT crown.

Summit fell to 14-1, while Westfield improved to 7-8. Summit won at Westfield 8-5 back on April 14.

When Westfield repeated for the first time in 2007 – also a second straight win over Summit in the final – it was by the same 7-6 score in double overtime.

 

 

UCT BOYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES, SITES

 

2016: Westfield 7, Summit 6 (2OT) – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2015: Westfield 4, Summit 3 (3OT) – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2014: Summit 9, Westfield 3 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2013: Summit 9, Westfield 5 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2012: Summit 12, Westfield 1 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2011: Summit 15, Cranford 2 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2010: Summit 7, Westfield 2 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2009: Summit 9, Johnson 3 – at Johnson’s Nolan Field

 

2008: Summit 7, Johnson 6 – at Summit’s Tatlock Field

 

2007: Westfield 7, Summit 6 (2OT) – at Summit’s Tatlock Field

 

2006: Westfield 10, Summit 9 – at Summit’s Tatlock Field

 

2005: Summit 14, Westfield 2 – at Summit’s Tatlock Field

 

2004: Summit 12, Westfield 3 – at Summit’s Tatlock Field

 

2003: Summit 4, Westfield 3 – at Kean University in Union

 

CHAMPIONSHIPS:

 

Summit (10)

 

Westfield (4)

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