Ann Arbor Pioneer survived a late deluge of shots and escaped with a 0-0 tie when Saline visited for a varsity girls soccer contest Thursday. The Pioneers stormed the field in celebration as the game’s final seconds fell from the clock.
The Pioneers spent most of the game hanging on for dear life. The Hornets came in waves – especially in the final six minutes. Lauren Rubin might have had Saline’s best opportunity, crashing the Pioneer goal just as the Pioneer goalie made a save on a free kick with 6:30 to play. The Pioneer goalie bobbled the ball and would have been at Rubin’s mercy, but the keeper regain control as Rubin loomed.
A minute later Saline had another great chance. Genesis Pena had a free kick from about 20 yards out, on the left wing. Pena’s put a nearly perfect kick over the keeper’s head, but it hit the crossbar and skipped out of bounds.
“Soccer is a funny game. You can spend the entire game playing a team that never attacks and focuses only on keeping you from scoring. Sometimes it works,” Saline coach Dana Rosselot said. “I thought we didn’t create enough opportunities in the first half. We made adjustments at halftime and we did a better job generating chances.”
At the other end, defenders Sarah Brannan, Emma Petrock and Liz Sekerak thwarted the few Pioneer excursions that made it over midfield. Annika Udrys posted one of the easier shutouts of her career.
The tie gives Saline a 6-0-2 record in the SEC Red. The Hornets still control their own destiny with two games remaining on the conference schedule. If Saline defeats Bedford and Huron, they’ll win the SEC Red crown.
“It’s one of our goals. We want to finish strong and win the conference,” Rosselot said.
But before finishing the SEC Red, the Hornets will face a tough Grand Blanc team – in a rematch of the 2015 state championship game, which Saline won.
“We’re going from playing a team that didn’t attack at all to one of the best attacking teams in the state,” Rosselot said.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Genesis Pena – Strong at midfield all game and played dangerous balls toward the Pioneer goal.
- Bella Petrock – It was a sight to see when she jumped into the offense in the game’s final moments. Petrock played tough at midfield and helped keep Pioneer walled in their own zone.
- Morgan Jones – Jones drove play toward the Pioneer goal and was really tough in tight quarters, giving the Pioneer defense all kinds of trouble.