Tower Hill still the one to beat for state title

Tower Hill School is the consensus pick to win its record 17th field hockey state championship.
“I don’t even know if it’s intentional, but every time we get to the state tournament everyone steps it up,” said senior Anna Teruya, 17, of Hockessin.
“We work hard during the regular season, but once it comes to the state tournament everyone just steps it up even further.

“We just know what we have to do,” she said.

For example, Tower Hill lost both of its Independent Conference games to archrival Wilmington Friends School last Fall. But Tower Hill, loaded with juniors, beat a Wilmington Friends School, packed with seniors, 2-1 in the semifinals.

“We struggled with Friends,” said senior Caitlin Van Sickle, 17, of Wilmington. “When we got to the state tournament, we were really determined to beat anyone that we came up against, but especially them.

“It was time for them to lose,” she said.

Coach Robin Adair said Tower Hill’s rematch against Wilmington Friends at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium was “a great situation.”

“A lot of times you don’t get that last shot that you really want at a team,” Adair said. “They played like they were psyched and I thought we played really well in that game.

“There’s the whole situation thing,” she said. “We had been in the same situation (in 2005). Just making it to the turf is exciting. My kids had been there and Friends did not make the semifinal the year before. Getting there does help. They handled the pressure very nicely.”

When it comes to reloading each year, Tower Hill adjusts by playing to its strengths depending on a given year’s personnel, Teruya and Van Sickle said.

“We lose people every year,” said Van Sickle, center midfield. “We just have to rebuild our style.”

“I wouldn’t say we have a set style,” said Teruya, center back. “We always try to have speed and strength.”

This year, the Hillers have a strong attack, Van Sickle said. In addition, Teruya, Van Sickle, Lindsay Griffith and Lauren Ianni are the four seniors who have been on the varsity since freshman year.

“This is our year,” Teruya said. “We’re just ready to finish strong.”

Tower Hill is off to a 3-0 start after beating Archmere 8-2 September 11, Westtown (Pa.) 14-0 September 14 and perennial contender St. Mark’s High School 3-0 September 18.

“We really have to work together and that’s going to be the key every year,” Teruya said.

This year, Adair said she feels good about Tower Hill’s chances. Tower Hill only lost four starters. Myra Trivellas, Grier Tumas and Caroline Campbell graduated. Junior Chelsea Stuart tore her anterior cruciate ligament.

“I have some kids that love the game and they’re excited … about being on this surface,” Adair said. “The kids love it, so we just get to play on it more and more.”

By Antonio Prado, Staff Reporter, The Community News
Photos by Walt Mateja
Reprinted with permission of The Community News