Hillers get best of Friends

Tower Hill avenges prior loss for conference title.
Tower Hill School took to its home field against Wilmington Friends for the final game of the regular season Thursday with a great deal to prove and the Independent Conference field hockey championship on the line.
"They beat us last time, so we kind of wanted to show them exactly how good we were," Tower Hill coach Robin Adair said.

Tower Hill's only conference loss this season was to the Quakers on Oct. 3, when Friends won 1-0 on a penalty stroke midway through the second half.

But on Thursday, the third-ranked Hillers (14-2, 7-1) emerged as conference champions as they beat the fourth-ranked Quakers 3-0.

"This was our first steppingstone -- we wanted to win the conference," Tower Hill's Meghan Lyons said. "And after our first loss to Friends, we knew that we had to win this game to win the conference, and we wanted to be the sole champions."

Lyons had a goal and two assists in the game.

The Hillers pounced about nine minutes into the game with a goal off a penalty corner. Emily Shuckert passed in to Lyons at the top of the circle, and Lyons shot. The kick save by Johanna Fors ricocheted back to Shuckert as she re-entered the field of play, and she corralled it and shot on an open net.

Tower Hill scored again 10 minutes later. A Friends defender tried to intercept a pass from Lyons, but the ball bounced away. Tower Hill's Lucy McMurry tracked it down and delivered a low, hard shot past the diving Fors to give Tower Hill a 2-0 lead.

The Quakers responded in the second half, but solid defense by the Hillers prevented them from scoring. Alexis Aurigemma had eight saves in the shutout.

"They all stepped up nicely," Adair said. "My goalie's good. She made some great saves, my defense was stopping a lot of balls that could have been potential goals, and they were working nicely together."

Friends coach Anne Brooking said the Quakers (11-3-2, 5-2-1) had some good sustained drives, but they couldn't finish inside the circle.

Lyons added an insurance goal with less than 10 minutes to play off a bounding pass from Katie Applegate.

"I think this is really setting the tone for our team for going into the state tournament," Lyons said.

By TED BOND • Special to The News Journal • October 31, 2008
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal