Parker’s OT goal carries Lake Forest to third straight D-II hockey semifinals

Lake Forest’s Bethany Lawson, Haydan Parker, Haily Moore and Elle Wood celebrate Parker’s overtime winning goal against Tower Hill on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

FELTON — With the goalkeeper directly in front of her, Haydan Parker had to get creative.

Less than five minutes into overtime, the Lake Forest High sophomore stepped back and lifted the ball over the goalie for the game-winning score.

The OT goal sent the host and third-seeded Spartans past sixth-seeded Tower Hill High, 1-0, in the second round of the DIAA Division II field hockey state tournament Saturday afternoon.

Lake senior Elle Wood assisted on the play, which occurred with 10:45 remaining.

“The goalie had it in her pads, so I couldn’t get it through her, so I just pulled it back and lifted it. I thought that was the best option,” said Parker. “I’ve never experienced something like that before. I’ve never gotten a game-winner, so it was really exciting.”

Lake Forest’s Haydan Parker prepares to hit the overtime winning goal.

Lake will face second-seeded Indian River High in Wednesday’s semifinals at University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium. IR shutout seventh-seeded Newark Charter School, 4-0, to earn the semis matchup with the Spartans.

It’s the third straight semifinal appearance for Lake Forest (12-3-1), with a pair of losses to eventual state champion Delmar High in the previous two trips.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of them right now,” said Lake coach Michele Tucker. “I knew Tower Hill was going to be tough. They have a great reputation in the world of field hockey, so I knew today’s game was going to be a battle.

Four of Lake’s games ended with a trip to overtime, and five were decided by just one goal.

As a result, Tucker wanted to make sure her girls were prepared in the case of yet another OT game.

“Knowing what has happened and watching how this week unfolded, not that we wanted an overtime situation, but we just anticipated the possibility of it,” Tucker said. “We’ve been ending every single practice with overtime to prepare mentally, physically for that today.”

Lake Forest’s Elle Wood dives toward the ball against Tower Hill in the second half.

“We’re used to overtime — we always go to overtime — but it’s very exciting to win like that, it’s a rush,” said senior goalkeeper August Lewis.

Indian River (15-1) defeated the Spartans, 2-0, in a Henlopen South showdown on Oct. 17. Tucker and the Spartans hope for a different outcome this time around.

Lake Forest held the 7-6 advantage in penalty corners, but Tower Hill outshot them, 6-5.

Lewis made three saves for Lake, while the Hillers’ sophomore goalie Kayley Knackstedt collected four.

“We knew they were good and that we had to up our game a lot,” said Lewis. “The defense, we really locked down, knew who to mark and I think that helped a lot.”

Offensively, Lake Forest dominated the first 30 minutes, edging the Hillers in time of possession and corner attempts, 6-2.

With a 0-0 score, Tower Hill came out in the second half and turned the tables to dominate time of possession while edging the Spartans, 4-1, in corners.

The Spartans’ back line stepped up to make some plays to keep the Hillers out of the cage.

Senior Maycee Collison just missed wide of the goal cage on a corner attempt with 5:10 remaining. Another Lake shot just missed the mark at 1:55.

Neither team was able to slip one past the opposing goalkeeper through 60 minutes, resulting in the 15-minute OT period.

“I’m excited, I think the whole team is excited,” Parker said of the semifinal showdown with IR. “I think it’ll be tough – we played them earlier this year – but we can do it.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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