CLAYMONT — Archmere’s girls lacrosse game against Tower Hill didn’t begin the way the Auks had envisioned, but after several minutes of uncertainty, they turned the momentum around and went on to an 18-10 victory over the Hillers in the quarterfinals of the DIAA state tournament.
Archmere, the third seed, will take on No. 2 Tatnall in one semifinal on Tuesday at Delaware State University in Dover at 7 p.m. The Hornets defeated the Auks during the regular season.
To get there, they had to overcome a spirited challenge from the Hillers, the tournament’s sixth seed. Tower controlled the opening draw and held possession for more than two minutes before Emerson DeBaecke took a pass from behind the net and buried the shot for the game’s first goal.
A violation on the Auks gave the ball back to the Hillers, and they went to the patient approach. The possession ended when Ava Svindland flipped the ball toward the net, and it handcuffed Auks goalie Ellie DiCarlo and bounced in. Tower added a third goal at the 18:25 mark to go up, 3-0.
Archmere started to change the tenor of the game after a steal less than a minute after that goal. Becca Olsen came out from behind the net and shot over her head high into the net for the Auks’ initial tally. They won the draw, and this time Olsen played distributor, finding a cutting Bella Hughes in front for the team’s second goal in 25 seconds. Those two teamed up again at the 16:16 mark, leveling the score.
With the momentum clearly in their favor, the Auks took the lead midway through the half on their first free position goal of the day, from Marley Brown. Finally, Claudia Koch scored after taking a bump in front of Hillers goalie Emily O’Hara for the team’s fifth goal in 12 and a half minutes.
After a Tower Hill goal to end the Auks’ run, Archmere scored twice while a player up, part of a three-goal blast in less than two minutes. Sara Denning scored two of those, and the lead was 8-4 at the half.
The teams traded the first four goals of the second half, but the Auks never seemed threatened. Tessa Gattuso, who came in to play goalie in the second half for the Hillers, stopped a few free position shots, but the Auks had the ball far too much to allow Tower to make a run.
Denning scored Archmere’s final goal of the afternoon, her fifth, with 1:43 to go. That gave them their biggest lead of the day at nine.
Hughes joined Denning with five goals, while Koch and Olsen each had three. Olsen added seven assists. DiCarlo had nine saves, while Holly Hayes made one. The Auks are now 16-1.
A.J. Hehir had a hat trick for the Hillers. Svindland had two to go along with three assists. O’Hara and Gattuso each had three saves. Tower Hill finished the season 12-5.
In another quarterfinal game, No. 4 Sussex Academy defeated No. 5 Ursuline, 19-13. Claire Fowler scored four times for the Raiders with three assists. Emma Anthony had three goals and three assists, and Isabella Tesche had a hat trick. The Raiders finished the season 10-5-1.
All photos by Mike Lang.