Tower Hill rolls closer to another title

Top seed beats Friends in quarterfinals
BEAR -- Three-time defending state champion Tower Hill is one step away from potentially winning a fourth straight Delaware High School Field Hockey Tournament championship.

The top-seeded Hillers received two goals from junior midfielder Emily Schuckert and went on to defeat eighth-seeded Wilmington Friends 3-1, in the quarterfinal round Saturday at Caravel Academy.

Tower Hill (16-2) will face 12th-seeded Caravel in the semifinals on Wednesday. The Buccaneers have already upset No. 5 St. Thomas More and No. 4 seed Red Lion.

"Winning never gets old," Tower Hill coach Robin Adair said. "You never just get used to it. Every game is different. You play somebody different every game. But it's exciting to move on."

Schuckert scored just 42 seconds into the game. After a penalty corner, the ball was tipped a couple of times before she was able to send it past Wilmington Friends goalie Johanna Fors.

"It was one of our goals to come out strong and not wait for things to happen," Schuckert said. "We wanted to score early and have it give us some momentum to carry forward."

With slightly more than 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Schuckert registered her second goal on a terrific pass from Katie Applegate.

Lucy McMurry gave the Hillers a commanding 3-0 lead midway through the second half. They kept firing shots at Fors, and McMurry scored after the ball bounced off Fors' pad.

In between, Tower Hill staved off a number of chances by the Quakers, who had 16 penalty corners.

"We came ready to play," said Wilmington Friends senior Kyle Knight, who scored the Quakers' goal with 4:02 left. "After they took a 3-0 lead, we just had to keep our heads up. I thought we played very well. We came together as a team this season and grew closer and stronger as the season progressed."

The same goes for the Hillers, who are aiming for another title.

"Definitely, it's always one of our goals, to win a championship," Schuckert said. "I thought we played well. Friends is a great team. We knew we had to step up to beat them."

The Quakers, who defeated No. 9 seed Sussex Tech 2-0 in the first round, finished their season at 12-4-2.

"I'm really proud of our team," Knight said. "We really improved throughout the season. The scoreboard showed Tower Hill won, but we came a long way."

By ANDY JASNER • Special to The News Journal • November 9, 2008
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal