Panthers fall to Tower Hill 13-8 in boys lacrosse tourney opener

WOODSIDE — Polytech High played pretty well at the start of the night.

The Panthers weren’t too bad at the end, either.

But the part in the middle, where Tower Hill reeled off nine unanswered goals, was just too much for Polytech to overcome.

It all added up to a 13-8 victory for the No. 9 Hillers over the No. 8 Panthers in the first round of the DIAA boys’ lacrosse state tournament on a chilly Wednesday night.

Polytech battled back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the contest at 3-3 just after the start of the second quarter. Tower Hill (9-6), though, owned a 12-3 advantage before the Panthers (11-5) scored again with 9:33 left in the game.

Polytech’s Patrick O’Brien celebrates a goal against Tower Hill during the first round of Boys Lacrosse State Tournament at Polytech on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“We responded the first time they made a run on us,” said Polytech coach Bob Gilmore. “Then they made another run and we didn’t respond right away. Hats off to them (the Hillers). They came in ready to play and they played hard.

Polytech’s Jacob Davis drives past Tower Hill’s Joe Pinto during the first round of Boys Lacrosse State Tournament at Polytech on Wednesday.

“We were a little jittery early on. Certainly not taking anything away from Tower Hill, but we were very sloppy in the first half. It’s tough to come back from when we give them an advantage like that. But, again, they took the advantage.”

Tower Hill, which plays top-seeded Wilmington Friends in Saturday’s quarterfinals, built a 7-3 advantage by halftime and led 11-3 going into the fourth quarter.

Finally, the Panthers stopped the Hillers’ scoring spree by ending the contest with a 5-1 run. It was too little, too late, however.

Still, Gilmore liked the way his players kept battling.

“That was very important to us,” he said. “They haven’t quit all year and we didn’t expect them to quit. We certainly expected our seniors to go out fighting — to continue to teach the young guys.

“They’ve done a tremendous teaching the young guys all year. That’s their role in life here — to teach the young ones.”

Polytech’s goalie Noah Lust stops a shot on goal against Tower Hill during the first round of Boys Lacrosse State Tournament at Polytech on Wednesday.

Senior Jake Davis and junior Zach Trabaudo tallied three goals apiece to pace Polytech. It was a long-range goal from Trabaudo on an assist from Davis that knotted the score at 3-3 with 11:18 left in the second quarter.

Senior goalie Noah Lust also came up big with 14 saves.

After missing the state tournament the last two seasons, this was the first playoff experience for most of the Panthers. They’re proud they got the chance.

“This was a great season,” said Davis. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I haven’t been here since my freshman year. It’s always a great experience

“Obviously we wish the outcome was different but I’m still proud of my boys for not giving up — for still coming out and fighting really hard.”

“We played really hard,” Lust agreed. “It was just the first half that really killed us. We kind of came out slow.

“This is my first year being in the tournament. It felt good. It’s something I’ve never really experienced.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.