Athletics

Hillers score three-peat

Tower Hill dominates in victory over St. Andrew's for third straight title
CLAYMONT -- It wasn't just about the bouquet of flowers that Tower Hill School coach Wiz Applegate and her girls lacrosse team received, or the shiny trophy the Hillers hoisted in the air.

It was about the culmination of a memorable journey that ended with Tower Hill capturing its third consecutive championship in the Delaware High School Girls Lacrosse Tournament. The postgame snapshot of the team holding up three fingers said it all.

Mary Hobbs scored three goals and had an assist and Caitlin Van Sickle added a pair of goals and two assists to propel fourth-seeded Tower Hill to an 8-2 victory over No. 6 seed St. Andrew's in the state title game at Archmere Academy on Friday.

"Each [championship] is definitely different," Hobbs said. "Each one has a different story, but each one's just as good ... and I love it."

It was one unforgettable day for Tower Hill seniors Van Sickle and goaltender Anna Teruya before an enthusiastic crowd.

"We really wanted to make this our third [straight]," Teruya said. "Caitlin [Van Sickle] and I were talking [Friday], and it's our last day of school also, so we wanted to finish out everything really strong. We just really wanted to end on a happy note."

Tower Hill (15-4) scored six unanswered goals from early in the first half to the second half after the Saints' Grace Gahagan got things rolling by scoring 3:37 into the game.

Both teams utilized an extremely patient approach as they worked on getting scoring opportunities.

"It was definitely an interesting pace," Applegate said. "I think at the defensive end St. Andrew's and Tower Hill both contested and really played a strong defensive game. Both goalies played incredible games."

However, Hobbs managed to sandwich a pair of goals around a Van Sickle score to give the Hillers a 3-1 lead at halftime.

Perhaps the Hillers' most important goals came at the outset of the second half.

That was when Caroline Holliday, Meghan Lyons and Hobbs scored in a 2:08 span, about six minutes into the game's final 25 minutes.

"We had to come out strong and start out really fast because they were coming after us," Van Sickle said. "That definitely boosted our confidence and really got us going and set the pace for the second half."

Amanda Johnston put St. Andrew's back on the scoreboard with a goal with 14:58 remaining. However, Van Sickle and Lexi Saunders scored again for the Hillers in the closing minutes to clinch the victory.

"It's a good feeling, and we're proud of the girls," Applegate said. "They came out strong and hard, and that was one of the themes that we set for them, to come out strong and hard right off the bat."

Tower Hill outshot St. Andrew's 20-15, and Teruya and Saints goalie Mackenzie Lilly each recorded 11 saves.

St. Andrew's coach Heidi Pearce, whose team finished its season 13-4, wasn't quite sure what happened.

"We didn't show up," Pearce said. "We just didn't come to play and we didn't play our game.

"It's a tough time of year for our kids. We've got a lot going on, and I think maybe it was a little bit of an overload on them. Unfortunately, it just didn't happen for us."

It did happen for Tower Hill -- for the third straight year and fifth time overall.

Contact Mike Finney at 734-7945 or mfinney@delawareonline.com.

Tower Hill 8, St. Andrew's 2

St. Andrew's 1 1-2

Tower Hill 3 5-8

Goals-SA: Gahagan, Johnston; TH: Hobbs 3, C. VanSickle 2, Lyons, Holliday, Saunders. Assists-SA: none; TH: C. VanSickle 2, Lyons 2, Hobbs.

Shots-SA 15; TH 20. Saves-SA (Lilly) 11; TH (Teruya) 11.

by Mike Finney, The News Journal
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal

Contact Mike Finney at 734-7945 or mfinney@delawareonline.com.



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