Teamwork pays off big for Hillers

MILLTOWN -- Meghan Lyons and Katie Applegate each had four goals and an assist to lead top-ranked Tower Hill girls' lacrosse to a 12-7 win Tuesday at fourth-ranked St. Mark's.

The Hillers (9-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Spartans (7-2) in the first 12 minutes.

"We played like we never had a lead," Lyons said. "We always ran it the whole game, and I think we never let up, and that was the most important part of today."

St. Mark's senior Courtney Schweizer notched four goals, tying the state record for career goals with Heidi Pearce at 275.

Lyons scored the first two goals, the first on a quick-stick shot at the crease on a pass from Lexi Saunders behind the net. On the second goal, Caroline Holliday found Lyons cutting toward the crease for the goal.

Nine of the Hillers' 12 goals were assisted.

"We had good vision in settled offense, and we were scoring goals off assist goals as opposed to run-ins, and I think that it's much harder for a goalkeeper to defend against assist goals," Tower Hill coach Wiz Applegate said.

Early on, Tower Hill was able to hold the ball for long stretches on attack without being challenged by Spartan defenders. This allowed the Hillers to sit back, pass the ball and wait until they found wide-open cutters for catch-and-shoot goals.

"I think we showed them a little too much respect early," St. Mark's coach Bill Eichinger said. "We always talk about respecting opponents, but we respected [Tower Hill] to the point of backing off and not being aggressive enough."

The Hillers went up 9-2 before consecutive goals by Schweizer drew the Spartans back to within five before halftime.

In the second half, Applegate scored all three of the Hillers' second-half goals.

But, the Spartans battled back. Consecutive scores by Schweizer, Aimee Lucente and Schweizer again put the Spartans within four with momentum and 11:35 to play. Then the Hillers stepped up on defense.

"All of a sudden, before we could blink, we were down by five, and then we ended up losing by five," Schweizer said. "So if we hadn't just been shocked, if we hadn't let them come out hard in the beginning, I think it would have been a lot closer."

By TED BOND • Special to The News Journal • April 29, 2009
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal