WILMINGTON — Tower Hill took control early in their opening-round game in the DIAA Division II field hockey tournament against Saint Mark’s, and the Hillers didn’t let up. They scored three times in each half and limited the Spartans to one shot in a 6-0 win Nov. 5 at their home venue, Richardson Field.
Grace Bailer banged a shot off the post in the first minute as the Hillers, seeded sixth, gave an early preview of their game plan. Their pressure paid off less than two minutes in, as they earned their first penalty corner. Sarah Zungailia took a shot that was deflected by Jen Cleary over Spartans goalkeeper Abigail McIlvain for the 1-0 lead with 28:07 left in the half.
That tandem would team up for the Hillers’ next goal, which came with 20:33 on the clock. This time, Zungailia picked up a rebound of a Cleary shot and sent the ball into the cage. This tally also came off a penalty corner.
McIlvain kept 11th-seeded Saint Mark’s close with a series of saves as the half moved along, including a diving stop and another on a short attempt by Cleary. There was nothing she could do, however, when Emma Peddrick deflected a ball past her with 7:40 to go.
The Spartans earned their lone penalty corner of the contest with just under two minutes left in the half. It resulted in their only shot of the afternoon, which was kick-saved by Hillers keeper Linsey Palma.
Tower sent more balls McIlvain’s way as the second half progressed, but the hosts could not add to their lead until the 17:55 mark, when Cleary tipped in a shot from Maggie Bailer. McIlvain had no chance on that one.
Grace Nestor and Claire Dignazio added goals 21 seconds apart in the closing minutes for the final margin.
The Hillers finished with 13 shots and 16 penalty corners. They will travel to No. 3 Lake Forest on Saturday at 11 a.m. in one quarterfinal matchup.
The Spartans’ season ended with a record of 7-8-1. They return all but five seniors next year.