Halfway through the SEC Red season, the Lady Hornets are a perfect 5-0.
Saline defeated Pioneer 2-0 at Saline High School Thursday night. Junior Cassy Wright and sophomore Morgan Jones scored for the Hornets. Lauren Wilkie made several stops in goal for the shutout.
Saline is 5-3-1 overall.
Saline led 1-0 at halftime, but head coach Dana Rosselot wasn’t enamored with the Hornets’ first half play.
“We were a little flat and didn’t press much in the first half. But I’m proud of the girls because I challenged them at halftime and they really responded,” Rosselot said.
Wright opened the scoring in the first half. Sophomore Sarah Brannan raced up the side and centered to Wright who one-touched the shot past the Pioneer keeper.
“Cassy made a great shot,” Rosselot said.
In the second half Jones and freshman Devin Reilly put on a show, using their strength, speed and skill to win battles, set up plays and fire dangerous shots toward the goal. Early in the half, Reilly passed to Jones, who ran up the left wing and fired a hard shot off the goalie and in.
“I had it on the left side and just decided to shoot it really hard because I knew she could drop it. It just went under her and into the goal,” Jones said.
A little later Maeve Skelly sent a long pass up the middle to Reilly, who quickly played it to Jones, who beat her check up the left side. Jones fired a shot that the goalie batted down. The rebound went to the front where Reilly battled the keeper and a defender for the ball. Reilly won the battled and directed back to the oncoming Jones who fired a shot just over the crossbar.
The young Reilly-Jones tandem was about everything Rosselot could have hoped for.
“Devin has really emerged over the last few games and is playing very well. With Morgan, we recently moved her up from defense to help with the attack,” Rosselot said.
As a freshman Jones played a big role on the state championship team’s defense. When asked why she was moved to forward, Rosselot replied, “Did you see her shot? She’s got a rocket.”
Jones said playing forward can be tiring because there’s a lot more running. But she enjoys being involved in the play.
Although the Hornets controlled the tempo in the second half, Pioneer did generate several chances on corner kicks. Sophomore Bella Petrock, guarding the corner of the net, prevented one shot from finding the back of the goal.
Saline nearly went up 3-0 when Emma Wright lofted a shot over the goalie. The shot arced over the net and keeper and came down on the far cross bar.
Rosselot said she was proud of the way her team has played in the SEC after opening with losses against some of the tougher teams in the state.
“We knew those teams were going to be tough and that’s why we had them on the schedule. We’ve really playing well,” Rosselot said.
Saline has a tough non-conference game Friday against Northville.