2023 NJSIAA Boys Lacrosse Group 2 Championship Preview: Wall Township vs. Summit
NJSIAA BOYS LACROSSE GROUP 2 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
WHO: Wall Township (17-5) vs. Summit (14-4)
WHEN: Friday, June 9, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Hopewell Valley Central High School
WALL'S ROAD TO THE STATE FINAL: Defeated Triton, 22-3, in the first round; defeated Cranford, 15-5, in the quarterfinals; defeated Somerville, 13-2 in OT, in the semifinals; defeated Manasquan, 10-9, in the South Group 2 sectional final.
SUMMIT'S ROAD TO THE STATE FINAL: Defeated Old Tappan, 16-1, in the first round; defeated Montville, 16-2, in the quarterfinals; defeated Sparta, 11-0, in the semifinals; defeated West Essex, 8-6, in the North Group 2 sectional final.
WALL'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: First sectional title this season.
SUMMIT'S CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: 12 overall state titles (2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021), T.O.C. champions in 2009 and 2010; Overall state champs in 1981 and 1983.
WALL'S BEST WINS: 7-6 and 10-9 over Manasquan; 10-9 over Shawnee; 14-6 and 12-5 over Southern Regional; 13-2 in OT over Somerville.
SUMMIT'S BEST WINS: 8-5 over Glen Ridge; 7-6 and 10-9 over Westfield; 9-6 over Moorestown; 10-3 and 8-6 over West Essex.
WALL'S STAT LEADERS/KEY PLAYERS
-John McCurry, Sr., Att: 71g, 63a
-Jack Meyer, Jr., Att: 23g, 14a
-Pat Donohue, Sr., Att/Mid: 14g, 5a
-Shea Brennan, Jr., Mid/Att: 54g, 31a
-Connor Moore, Sr., Mid: 37g, 13a
-Will Madden, Jr., Mid: 27g, 16a
-Anthony Gartz, Sr., SSDM: 22gb, 2g
-Jack Belko, Sr., SSDM: 45gb, 4g, 1a
-Dominick Giglio, Sr., LSM: 97gb, 5g, 3a
-Billy Carr, Sr., Def: 45gb, 2g
-Michael D'Amico, Jr., Def: 38gb, 2g
-Nick Mackie, Jr., Def.: 14gb
-Michael Hoarle, So., FOGO: 68% win percentage, 214gb, 18g, 22a,
-Lucas Seelinger, Jr., Goalie: 173 saves, 58% save percentage
-Patrick Freud, Fr., Mid: 7g, 4a
SUMMIT'S STAT LEADERS/KEY PLAYERS
-Daniel Flaim, Jr., Att: 37g, 18a
-Sean McCeney, Jr., Mid: 27g, 10a
-James Grainger, Fr., Att: 21g, 11a
-Jack Holmes, Sr., Mid: 24g, 6a
-Jake Rainero, Sr., FOGO: 68% win percentage, 118 ground balls
-Jake Lowry, Sr., Mid: 13g, 17a
-Lucas Stocks, Sr., Mid: 10g, 20a
-Dale Wills, Sr., Att: 13g, 7a
-Robbie Kievit, Fr., Goalie: 112 saves, 60% save percentage
-Carter Shallcross, Jr., LSM
-Thomas Kohaut, Sr., LSM/Def
-Justin Anderson, Sr., Def
-Lucas Kohaut, Jr., SSDM
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Two teams with drastically different postseason experience will clash in the Group 2 state championship when Wall, fresh off its first sectional title in program history, clashes with 12-time state champion Summit.
Wall is in the title game for the first time thanks to a 10-9 victory over archrival Manasquan in the South Group 1 final, a massive program victory that put the Knights in the company of Rumson-Fair Haven, Manasquan, and Southern Regional as Shore Conference boys lacrosse teams to win sectional championships. Opposing them will be a Hilltoppers team that is the latest in a line of championship contenders for one of New Jersey's consistently great programs.
Offensively, Wall has a dynamic starting six led by New Jersey's scoring leader, senior attackman John McCurry. The United States Naval Academy commit has dropped 71 goals and 63 assists this season to lead the way, but with junior midfielder Shea Brennan at 85 points Connor Moore, Will Madden, Jack Meyer, and FOGO Michael Hoarle all with at least 40 points, the Knights can spread the scoring. They have also proved they can win when McCurry isn't filling the stat sheet. He had a goal and an assist in the sectional final win over Manasquan but the players around him produced when the pressure was on. That will be key against a Summit defense that deploys an excellent zone and has held opponents to 4.3 goals per game. The Hilltoppers have built a championship legacy by shutting down numerous high-octane offenses when the stakes are highest.
The battle at the face-off X is always crucial and this one will be no different. Hoarle, Wall's sophomore face-off ace, has been outstanding all season and was the tipping point in the victory over Manasquan by winning 16 of 21 and scoring two goals directly off clean face-off wins. Summit's Jake Rainero, a senior who is committed to Drew University, has won 68 percent of draws this season and went 15-for-16 at the X in the sectional final victory over West Essex. No game is every on only one player, but each of these talented FOGOs can make a massive impact Friday afternoon.
The same goes for the goalies. Wall junior Lucas Seelinger has had a very good year and, most importantly, has come up with clutch saves in crucial moments. Backstopping Summit's defense is freshman Robbie Kievit, who has played beyond his years between the pipes.
Another obvious X-factor is Summit's experience. The Hilltoppers have been here many times before with this particular group winning the Group 2 title in 2021 and reaching the final last season where they fell to Rumson. This is uncharted territory for Wall.
Summit is ranked No. 6 in the state by NJ.com and Wall is ranked No. 14. If the Crimson Knights can pull the upset they will join Rumson as the only Shore Conference boys lacrosse teams to win a state championship.