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Hillers Rally to Remain Unbeaten Following Second-half Surge

Boys Lacrosse: Tower Hill 6, Archmere 5

By Tom Cobourn, Special to The News Journal

Soaking wet and still unbeaten.

Ben Watson and Grier Wakefield each scored a pair of goals as host Tower Hill rallied for a 6-5 nonconfer­ence victory over Archmere in boys lacrosse on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

More important than the 10-0 record, the win over a strong Auks team (8-3) provided a good measuring stick for where the No. 4-ranked Hillers are as the reg­ular season heads into its final weeks.

“The only time we want to be undefeated is in the state tournament,” Tower Hill coach Brad DuPont said. “In fact, the two years we won the state championship we had hor­rible losses to teams we’d already beaten. …. We’re not afraid of a loss if we can learn from it, but it’s nice to know we can play tough.”

Early turnovers and penalties throughout – seven overall – tested the mettle of the Hillers, who trailed 4-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining. But Tower Hill broke loose for three unanswered goals and the last of goalkeeper Beau Isken’s 10 saves proved to be the biggest in turning back the third­ranked Auks.

Andrew Pettit tied the game with 9:49 remain­ing, sending a grounder past Aaron Allender (sev­en saves) and into the net. Four minutes later, Wake­field and Ben Manning broke free on a 2-on-1 mo­ments after another suc­cessful penalty kill.

“I drew the guy to me and luckily Manning was there to finish,” Wakefield said of the go-ahead goal.

Wakefield then scored what proved to be the de­ciding goal with 2:28 re­maining off a play the Hillers had been waiting to use. Archmere had been dropping a defender to the edge of the crease when Tower Hill worked from behind the net offen­sively. That left a 4-on-3 advantage up top.

“We knew that an open shot was going to be there at some point if we could get the feed there and take the shot,” said Wakefield, who scored from the Wat­son feed.

“That’s what we got at the end. That was a big emotional boost.”

However, less than a minute later, Archmere cut the deficit to 6-5 as Rob­bie Baxter came from be­hind the net, dove and wrapped the ball around the post and past Isken. It was the fourth unassisted goal of the game for the Auks, which didn’t sit well with Isken. But it was the only breakdown of the second half.

“Our defense really stepped it up in the end,” said Watson. “Beau had a great game; [defenseman Chris] Martel played real­ly well. I mean, they scored one goal in the sec­ond half. That’s really huge for us.”

Still, Isken had to make one more huge stop. With 1:20 left, Nate Beason, who already had scored once in the first quarter, was free on the left side for one final Archmere salvo from about 10 yards out.

“We went to middle school together and it was fun to save that shot,” Is­ken said. “I knew he was going to go for the five­hole [between the legs], so I just kind of went for it. I knew I had to make the save or we’d be going to overtime. And I didn’t want that to happen.

“Some of our friends left Tower Hill and went to Archmere, so it feels good to beat them.”

Ben Revak scored a pair of goals for the Auks, each time starting deep be­hind the Tower Hill goal, sprinting around to Isken’s right and firing in the shot.

“Ben has a motor, as they say,”Archmere coach Pete Duncan said. “For a sophomore in high school, he really has terrific en­durance. And I think what makes Ben the most valu­able is his ability to play within the restraining lines.

“I think we came in knowing it was going to be a 48-minute affair, and it really came down to that last minute, basically what we expected. I was proud of our kids for battling at the end.”

Repubished with permisson from The News Journal
Photo by WILLIAM BRETZGER/THE NEWS JOURNAL
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