Dover nipped by Tower Hill 12-11 in girls lacrosse tournament

By Andy Walter

From left, Dover’s Riley McQuaide, Angela Poole and Grace Gast congratulate Cydney Barnes on her second goal against Tower Hill during Thursday’s state tournament game. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Dover High’s girls’ lacrosse team had already lost three one-goal games this season.

But that doesn’t mean that the Senators’ fourth one-goal setback was any easier to swallow.

“It never gets any easier,” said senior midfielder Cydney Barnes. “You’re so close but so far at the same time.”

Dover’s Cydney Barnes shoots and scores against Tower Hill.

Making the program’s first appearance in the DIAA state tournament, sixth-seeded Dover twice overcame three-goal deficits only to fall to No. 11 Tower Hill, 12-11, on a rainy Thursday evening.

Just after an official’s call gave the ball back to the Hillers, sophomore Sarah Zungailia broke an 11-11 tie on a goal with only 1:04 remaining.

Tower Hill (11-5) won the ensuing draw and the Senators (11-5) were never able to mount any offensive threat in the final minute.

“It’s indicative of our entire season,” said Dover coach Molly Phillips. “Tower Hill’s a good team. They have a long history of making the tournament.

“But our goal this season was to make the tournament and we accomplished that. … We never give up. We keep playing hard the whole game. We made some small mistakes that cost us.”

Trailing 10-7 in the final 15 minutes, the Senators came all the way back to knot the score at 11-11 with 2:56 remaining. Barnes scooped up a loose ball and ran in on Tower Hill’s goal, firing home a shot from the side of the net.

“We definitely played hard,” said Barnes. “We never gave up and that’s all that really matters. We hustled to the end, it just didn’t go our way.

The Senators’ Nicole Rainford brings the ball up field against Tower Hill’s Gracie Bailer.

“It’s bittersweet. I wish we could have gone on to another game but I’m lucky that we got here. It was (fun) — the intensity and our student section and everything. It was a lot of fun.”

Senior Grace Gast, who earlier this season broke the school career scoring record, finished with a team-high five goals and two assists for Dover. Barnes added four goals and picked up several ground balls while Angela Poole and Riley McQuaide added the Senators’ other goals.

Annie Malatesta netted five goals for the Hillers with Zungailia scoring four.

Dover fell behind 3-0 in the contest’s first four minutes only to reel off the next four goals to go in front. Gast’s goal with 10:05 left in the first half gave the Senators their first advantage at 4-3.

The game featured six ties and two lead changes.

The two teams traded goals from there with a Gast goal with 21.8 seconds left in the first half putting Dover up, 7-6, at halftime.

But Dover went scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half as the Hillers went on a four-goal run of their own.

The Senators hope they can make playing in the state tournament a tradition. Nine of their starters on Thursday were underclassmen.
“I believe the team will be here next year to try again,” said Barnes.

“We have a lot of kids returning,” said Phillips. “I think we’ll be back. These girls will stay hungry for the next year.”

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