WILMINGTON -- During a second-half break in the action, Appoquinimink goalkeeper Kayla Fromal removed her mask, hunched over and wiped sweat from her face.
Across the field, Lindsay Luft, who had been in goal for Tower Hill, leaned on her stick, relaxed, with a hand on her hip.
The two goalkeepers told the story.
Luft saw little work. Third-seeded Tower Hill (15-1) controlled the ball throughout, and the rare offensive efforts by No. 14 Appoquinimink (10-5) were almost entirely limited to the first half.
Fromal had her work cut out for her, kicking away one shot after another in a valiant attempt to keep her team in the game.
In the end, the Tower Hill onslaught proved too much, as the Hillers rolled to a 5-0 win in the first round of the DIAA Field Hockey Tournament.
"It's a playoff game win, and I'm pleased with five goals," Tower Hill coach Robin Adair said. "It's a nice number. We'll take it."
For the game, Tower Hill outshot the Jaguars 27-0, and while Fromal denied many of the Hillers' scoring chances, the game was in hand from the early going.
Appoquinimink kept things close throughout the first 20 minutes, but Tower Hill kept the pressure on offensively. Finally, with 6 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half, Christina Freibott tallied the Hillers' first goal. Four minutes later, Jenna Chodos followed with another goal that dashed any momentum the Jaguars might have had.
"We started to get the momentum a little bit later in the first half and that carried over into the second half," Adair said. "That helped us."
The second half belonged completely to Tower Hill, as Kali DeGate, Kendal Robino and Taylor VanSickle each scored amid a flurry of Hillers offense.
It was the sixth game this season that Tower Hill has won by at least five goals, and the Hillers proceed to the quarterfinal still undefeated in the state.
But the tests only get tougher from here, Adair said as Tower Hill will face No. 6 Delmar in Saturday's quarterfinal. Wednesday's win provides a template for the Hillers' approach going forward.
"It's nice to see them step up because this is when it counts," Adair said. "They stepped up nicely."
Tower Hill 5, Appoquinimink 0
Appoquinimink 0 0-0
Tower Hill 2 3-5
First half-Chodos (Freibott), TH, 6:10; Chodos (Robino), TH, 2:10.
Second half-DiGate (Chodos), TH, 24:28; Robino (Blake), TH, 21:01; VanSickle (Ianni), TH, 3:13.
Shots-A 0, TH 27. Penalty corners-A 1, TH 10. Saves-A 14 (Fromal), TH 0 (Luft).
By DAVID HALE The News Journal
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal