Tower Hill shakes off early scare

Ursuline jumps to lead, but top-seeded Hillers regroup and pull away.
WILMINGTON -- Top-seeded Tower Hill School recovered from an early goal by No. 16 seed Ursuline Academy and unleashed an offensive onslaught en route to a 6-2 victory Wednesday in the first round of the Delaware High School Field Hockey Tournament.

"We just wanted to get it in the goal," said Emily Schuckert, who had three goals for the two-defending state champs. "And sometimes we wouldn't get it, so we just kept pounding and pounding until we got it."

Tower Hill (15-2) took 20 shots in a frenetic first half, and outshot the Raiders 27-5 in the game. But Ursuline took an early 1-0 lead, and still had the game tied 2-2 nearly 111¼2 minutes in.

The Raiders (11-5-1) scored just three minutes into the game when Alissa Norris tipped in a pass from Olivia DiAntonio.

"We were just really pumped up, in that we were able to score on them the first time so quickly," Norris said. "And then, once we got that first goal, I think we were just ready to go."

Tower Hill tied it 1-1 less than two minutes later on a penalty corner. Schuckert sent the ball to Meghan Lyons, who passed across the top of the circle to Mary Hobbs. She shot, and Schuckert redirected it in.

Hobbs scored a few minutes later to put the Hillers up 2-1 with 19:22 left in the first half. But Ursuline responded with a drive inside the Hillers' circle. Alexis Aurigemma made a diving save, but Austin Noonan controlled the rebound and launched it over the keeper to tie it 2-2 at 18:21.

"They came out stronger than us. That was evident, and they kind of hit us in the face," said Hobbs of Ursuline. "We just knew we had to finish it, we had to do it. We had to get it done."

The Hillers did just that the rest of the way, as Lyons had two goals and an assist, and Hobbs had a goal and three assists.

Schuckert and Lyons scored 17 seconds apart to give Tower Hill a 4-2 lead 12:24 before halftime. Schuckert passed in to Hobbs on a penalty corner. She dribbled it at the edge of the circle and passed back inside to Schuckert for the go-ahead goal.

Lyons tipped in Hobbs' hard shot from outside the circle to give the Hillers a two-goal lead.

The Hillers dominated possession and allowed no shots by the Raiders in the second half. They increased their lead with goals by Lyons and Schuckert in the final 10 minutes.

Gabrielle Perrotti had 19 saves for Ursuline.

"I didn't really know what to expect. You make the tournament, all the teams are good, and [Ursuline] came after us pretty aggressively," said Tower Hill coach Robin Adair, a step closer to her 10th state field hockey title and the 18th for Tower Hill.

"It made my kids work a little harder, and it made it more exciting."

Tower Hill 6, Ursuline 2

Ursuline 2 0-2

Tower Hill 4 2-6

First half-Norris (D'Antonio), U, 27:12; Schuckert (Hobbs), TH, 25:08; Hobbs (Applegate), TH, 19:22; Noonan (Bonnell), U, 18:21; Schuckert (Hobbs), TH, 12:41; Lyons (Hobbs), TH, 12:24.

Second half-Lyons (penalty stroke), TH, 6:34; Schuckert (Lyons), TH, 0:48.

Shots-U 5, TH 27. Penalty corners-U 1, TH 24. Saves-U 19 (Perrotti), TH 2 (Aurigemma).

By TED BOND • Special to The News Journal • November 6, 2008
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal