Hillers overcome obstacles to top Riders

Hillers overcome obstacles to top Riders

Gallery

Hillers overcome obstacles to top Riders

By

Tower Hill's James Spruance (10) right, passes the ball off as Caesar Rodney's Brinen Lefevre (12) defends.

Tower Hill’s James Spruance (10) right, passes the ball off as Caesar Rodney’s Brinen Lefevre (12) defends.

Caesar Rodney's Demetrius Stevenson (16), left runs with the ball as Tower Hill's James Spruance (10) tries to block him.

Caesar Rodney’s Demetrius Stevenson (16), left runs with the ball as Tower Hill’s James Spruance (10) tries to block him.

Tower Hill's Tej Vaddi (31), left and Caesar Rodney's Noah Longest (2) fight for a loose ball in the first quarter of play.

Tower Hill’s Tej Vaddi (31), left and Caesar Rodney’s Noah Longest (2) fight for a loose ball in the first quarter of play.

Tower Hill's Tej Vaddi (31), left defends against Caesar Rodney's Jacob Pangle (22).

Tower Hill’s Tej Vaddi (31), left defends against Caesar Rodney’s Jacob Pangle (22).

Caesar Rodney's Jacob Pangle (22) runs with the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney’s Jacob Pangle (22) runs with the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Tower Hill's Tej Vaddi (31), left tries to steal the ball from Caesar Rodney's Jacob Pangle (22).

Tower Hill’s Tej Vaddi (31), left tries to steal the ball from Caesar Rodney’s Jacob Pangle (22).

Tower Hill's Dougie McCoy (46) gains control of the ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s Dougie McCoy (46) gains control of the ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Caesar Rodneys Patrick Matsko (9) runs with ball down the field in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodneys Patrick Matsko (9) runs with ball down the field in their home game against Tower Hill.

Tower Hill's Christopher Miller (30) takes a hit while running with ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s Christopher Miller (30) takes a hit while running with ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Caesar Rodney's Jacob Mollohan (33) runs after the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney’s Jacob Mollohan (33) runs after the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney's goalie Tyler Gross reaches to stop a shot in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney’s goalie Tyler Gross reaches to stop a shot in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney's Nolan Brockmeyer (8) runs with the ball through traffic in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney’s Nolan Brockmeyer (8) runs with the ball through traffic in their home game against Tower Hill.

Tower Hill's William Togo (20) reaches for the ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s William Togo (20) reaches for the ball in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill's goalie Michael Gianforcaro (27) dives on the ball covering it in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s goalie Michael Gianforcaro (27) dives on the ball covering it in their win over Caesar Rodney.

Caesar Rodney's Luke Rankin (27) runs down the field with the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Caesar Rodney’s Luke Rankin (27) runs down the field with the ball in their home game against Tower Hill.

Tower Hill's Kevin Turner (7), left and Caesar Rodney's Brinen Lefevre (12) battle for a loose ball.

Tower Hill’s Kevin Turner (7), left and Caesar Rodney’s Brinen Lefevre (12) battle for a loose ball.

Tower Hills Noah Thomas (11) runs down the side line away from Caesar Rodney's players in their 11-9 win.

Tower Hills Noah Thomas (11) runs down the side line away from Caesar Rodney’s players in their 11-9 win.

Caesar Rodney's Jared Wagenhoffer (4), center, runs through Tower Hill's defense.

Caesar Rodney’s Jared Wagenhoffer (4), center, runs through Tower Hill’s defense.

Tower Hill's James Spruance (10) runs down the field with the ball in their 11-9 win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s James Spruance (10) runs down the field with the ball in their 11-9 win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill's goalie Michael Gianforcaro (27) keeps the ball away from Caesar Rodney's offense in their 11-9 win.

Tower Hill’s goalie Michael Gianforcaro (27) keeps the ball away from Caesar Rodney’s offense in their 11-9 win.

Caesar Rodney's Jacob Mollohan (33), left, with a hit to a Tower Hill player that ended in a penalty against Caesar Rodney.

Caesar Rodney’s Jacob Mollohan (33), left, with a hit to a Tower Hill player that ended in a penalty against Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill's Michael Gianforcaro (27), left and teammate Kevin Turner (7) jump into the air, congratulating each other, after their 11-9 win over Caesar Rodney.

Tower Hill’s Michael Gianforcaro (27), left and teammate Kevin Turner (7) jump into the air, congratulating each other, after their 11-9 win over Caesar Rodney.

CAMDEN – The Tower Hill boys lacrosse team had a lot to overcome on Wednesday night.

A wet field, a fired up opponent looking to end a three-game losing streak and a hamstring injury that ended senior midfielder Russell Applegate’s night in the opening minute made for a rough time.

But the second-ranked Hillers kept it together, weathered a hot start by Caesar Rodney and rallied for a character-building, 11-9 victory at Rider Stadium.

“We certainly did not start out real well,” Tower Hill coach Brad duPont said. “The kids showed a lot of poise and confidence to hang in there.”

The Riders (7-6) struck quickly, as Brinen Lefevre won the opening faceoff and passed to Luke Rankin for a goal just 13 seconds into the game. Carter Cucuzzella answered for the Hillers, but CR’s Rankin, Demetrius Stevenson and Jacob Copio each scored in a 67-second span to push Tower Hill into a 4-1 hole with 3:43 left in the first quarter.

“That was really nerve-wracking,” Hillers goalkeeper Michael Gianforcaro said. “… They came out firing, and we didn’t. We came out really flat. But we came back.”

Appo boys lacrosse steps up, upsets Cape Henlopen

Dougie McCoy launched the comeback with his first goal early in the second quarter, and James Spruance bounced one in to pull Tower Hill within 5-4. Stevenson weaved through the defense for a CR goal, but McCoy assisted on Chris Miller’s goal and Spruance banged home a rebound in the final minute of the half to tie it at 6.

“There was a lot of adversity,” duPont said. “The score, you’re down a player, and we scratched back. I thought tying it at halftime was a big momentum boost.”

The Hillers (10-2) kept the momentum, taking the lead for the first time on two third-quarter goals by Jamie Spartin. But the Riders were far from finished.

Stevenson scored on a spin move with 7:13 left, and Lefevre won another faceoff and went straight in to tie it at 9 just six seconds later. All of a sudden, it was crunch time.

McCoy, one of the Hillers’ three captains, responded. The senior fired into the upper right corner of the net to give Tower Hill a 10-9 lead with 6:17 to play.

Gianforcaro made a big save at the three-minute mark, and McCoy rewarded him with another score from the left side for a two-goal lead with 2:11 remaining.

Conrad clinches Diamond State Championship

“Coach always harps to me on being a leader and pushing my team through the tough times,” McCoy said. “First quarter, we were down 4-1 but the defense held strong and our offense started to push through.”

Gianforcaro stopped another key shot with 1:37 to go.

“I was really nervous,” said Gianforcaro, a freshman already in his second year as a starter. “I didn’t want to give up the game, and I felt that if I did let a goal in it would be on me. But our defense was doing a phenomenal job, only allowing outside shots.”

The Hillers played keepaway over the final 57.6 seconds, then mobbed their goalie to celebrate a big road victory.

“The kids are trusting each other. They’re not getting down on each other,” duPont said. “I think we’re playing better. With our chemistry, we’re really firing on all cylinders now.”

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports
Home
https://usatodayhss.com/2016/hillers-overcome-obstacles-to-top-riders
Hillers overcome obstacles to top Riders
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit http://usatodayhss.com.