REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE NEWS-JOURNAL
WILMINGTON -- Caitlin Van Sickle blasted a goal off a penalty corner early in the second half as No. 1-ranked Tower Hill turned back No. 2 Sanford 2-1 at Richardson Field in an Independent Conference field hockey game Tuesday afternoon.
Van Sickle received a perfect pass from Katie Applegate to start the corner. Applegate had been in the game for just two minutes when called upon to start the corner, effectively feeding the ball to Van Sickle at the top of the circle. Van Sickle took little time to fire the ball into the cage with 21:01 left.
"It was a nice pass," Van Sickle said. "I just stopped it and hit it - that was about it."
Tower Hill (4-0, 1-0) had command of the field for most of the game, particularly in the second half.
But after the Hillers went 0-for-8 on penalty corners over the first 18 minutes, Sanford (2-1, 1-1) scored first.
The Warriors pushed up the left side and Sarah Greenwood flicked the ball to Paris Waterman, who sent the ball rolling past the goalkeeper's left. Tower Hill defender Grier Tumas darted over and stretched as far as she could, but the effort was in vain and Sanford suddenly led 1-0 with 10:38 left until halftime.
"It was a scrappy goal," Waterman said. "I think we caught them off-guard a little bit. I think they let up, and we just put the ball in."
It didn't take long for Tower Hill to tie it. It was 1-1 with 9:19 left after the Hillers crowded the circle and Caroline Campbell scored, assisted by Lindsay Griffith.
"After they scored," Campbell said of Sanford's lead, "I was just fired up and I wanted to put it in the goal."
Tower Hill coach Robin Adair liked her team's response.
"We got it back quick," Adair said, "which was nice to see."
Tower Hill held Sanford to two shots, both in the first half, and led 13-1 in penalty corners. The Hillers kept the Warriors on their side of the field for most of the second half. With 5:18 left, Sanford made a push toward the opposing circle, crossing Tower Hill's 25-yard line, but Van Sickle made a stop and sent the ball to Griffith, who made the clear.
Sanford coach Joan Samonisky said her team couldn't sustain an attack, something that is particularly troubling "against a team as skilled as Tower Hill," she said.
"We had trouble connecting our passes [Tuesday]," she said.
"We just stop them and send it out," Van Sickle said of the Hillers' defensive approach. "We want to get the ball out."