BEAR -- The game was getting away from Tower Hill, and so was a chance to repeat as state champions.
But Will Mette and Michael Pettit scored all five of the Hillers' goals in the second half, enabling them to rally from a two-goal deficit to beat Archmere 9-7 in the semifinals of the DIAA Boys Lacrosse Tournament on Wednesday.
Mette finished with four goals and an assist, while Pettit scored all three of his goals in the fourth quarter.
The No. 3 Hillers (14-4) will face top-seed Salesianum in the championship for the third straight year on Saturday. No. 2 seed Archmere, which had never been to the state championship game, finished 15-2.
"We're used to coming from behind," Mette said. "This is nothing new to us. It was just a great win."
Tower Hill coach Brad duPont wasn't sure it would happen, however.
He saw Archmere control the ball for the entire second quarter and most of the third as the Auks took a 6-4 lead on Bryan Garrahan's goal midway through the third quarter.
But Mette scored less than a minute later, and the Hillers started to control the ball.
"Having been this deep before in the state tournament helped us," duPont said. "It kept us from getting down on ourselves and we were able to get back into it. For a while there, I didn't know if we could match Archmere's intensity. We tend to procrastinate a bit."
It didn't seem that way early on.
Tower Hill got off to a fast start as Charles Robino scored less than two minutes into the game. Archmere's Ryan Beatson answered midway through the quarter before David Kullman and Mette scored late in the period for a 3-1 Tower Hill lead.
But the lead was short-lived. The Auks controlled the play in the second quarter and managed to tie the game at 3-3 on goals by Christopher Thomson and Miles Bonner.
Mette answered with a goal for the Hillers. That, too, was short-lived as Connor Beatson scored with 31 seconds left in the half to tie the game.
Archmere scored two goals in the first part of the third quarter to take a 6-4 lead. Thomson scored his second with 10:22 to go and
Bryan Garrahan, who had two goals as well, scored with 6:40 to go for the Auks.
Tower Hill goalie Stephen Kullman kept Archmere from adding to its lead with several tough saves.
Then Mette answered with his third goal of the game to gave the Hillers back to within a goal.
They tied it early in the fourth quarter when Pettit converted a pass from Tyler Luft.
Tower Hill kept the pressure on after that. But Archmere goalie Davis Russell made some tough saves, and he was helped when Mette hit the post on another shot.
That only set up the final minutes when Pettit and Tower Hill took over. He scored with 2:02 left to give the Hillers an 8-7 lead. He added an insurance goal 25 seconds later.
"Those guys were very clutch for us," duPont said about Mette and Pettit.
Tower Hill 9, Archmere 7
Tower Hill 3 1 1 4-9
Archmere 1 3 2 1-7
Goals-TH: Mette 4, Pettit 3, D. Kullman, Robino; A: Thomson 2, Garrahan 2, R. Beatson, Bonner, C. Beatson,.
Assists-TH: Luft 2, Mette, Edinger; A: Thomson 2, C. Beatson 2, Revak.
Shots-TH: 25; A: 26. Saves-TH: (S. Kullman) 9; A (Russell) 8.
By MARTIN FRANK The News Journal
Reprinted with permission of The News Journal