The loss stung.
Saline dominated play for 60 minutes of regulation but couldn't score against Pioneer in the Michigan High School Field Hockey Association semifinal contest with Pioneer. The game advanced to seven-on-seven, sudden-death overtime. Pioneer gained possession early in the first half, ran down the field and scored the game's only goal to advance to the state championship game.
The Hornets were stunned.
"This hurts. It's heartbreaking. The girls played so well. The left everything on the field and did everything we asked. I couldn't be more proud of them," Saline coach Erica Reilly said. "It was just one of those games where we couldn't put the ball in the net."
The Hornets were buzzing around the Pioneer net all game. They were awarded 13 penalty corners. But while the Pioneers were under siege, when backed deep into their own zone, they did a great job contesting shots and clearing loose balls away from danger.
The loss was disappointing for the Hornets, who were co-champions of Division 1 during the regular season and who were hoping to advance to the championship game and avenge last year's loss. Still, it doesn't take away from what was a great season for the team.
"These girls have a lot to be proud of. We entered this season not sure how we were going to replace all the girls who graduated from last year's team. And we had a lot of young girls step up and contribute to our success. It was surprising and exciting to see the way this team developed," Reilly said.
It was the final game for seniors Bridget Skelly, Ali Groth, Erin Reilly and Sophia Goethals.
"They won the regular season title twice, went to the championship game and went to the final four. The young girls in this program learned a lot from them," Reilly said.