No. 1-ranked Tower Hill (7-0, 2-0) was 0-for-4 on penalty corners until the one sent in by Emily Schuckert late in the first half. Anna Teruya scored on a blast from the top of the circle with 7:36 left in the first half, and then with three seconds left, Katie Applegate sent the ball into the circle and Lindsay Griffith got her stick on it for an eventual 2-0 halftime lead.
Tatnall (4-2-1, 0-1) came out in the second half and earned four straight penalty corners of its own, and less than 10 minutes into the second half the Hornets' Caitlin Cowan kept the ball in the circle and crossed the ball right-to-left to Amanda Reese, who made it 2-1 with 20:52 left in the game.
It didn't take long for Tower Hill to restore its two-goal lead. The Hillers pushed right into the Hornets' side of the field on the restart and Lauren Ianni assisted Griffith at 19:49 for a 3-1 lead. Tower Hill was ahead 4-1 about five minutes later after five different Hillers had a stick on a ball during a penalty corner, with Caitlin Van Sickle assisting on Megan Lyons' goal with 13:41 left in the game.
The goals kept on coming. Reese's unassisted goal for Tatnall at 11:03 made it 4-2, but once again it didn't take long for the Hillers to cancel out a goal by the Hornets. Applegate's unassisted goal for Tower Hill at 10:20 completed the scoring.
"We had a slow start but we picked it up," said Van Sickle, a Tower Hill senior midfielder who is the returning state player of the year. "It got a little shaky. They kept coming back so we had to score -- it was crazy. But Tatnall didn't lose that many people from last year so we knew they were going to be a tough team."
Tower Hill has won the last two state titles, with Delmar beating Tatnall in a first-round game of last year's state tournament. Tatnall missed the state tournament in 2005.
This season, the Hillers have outscored opponents 40-4.
"Their offense is very strong," Reese said about the Hillers. "They're quick to the ball and that's what we tried to work on, and we just need to stay strong."
Tower Hill led 12-7 in shots and 8-7 in penalty corners.
Contact Buddy Hurlock at 324-2807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by William