At the outset of the season, the Saline varsity girls soccer team voted on team goals. One of the most popular goals was to get off to a strong start each game.
Friday night, the Hornets shot out of the gate and scored early – the first and only game of their contest with Northville, ranked sixth in the state, at Saline High School Friday.
Annika Dahlmann scored just 2:30 into the contest and goal keeper Annika Udrys made several great saves to make that goal stand as the winner.
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“I think by coming out the way we did we put them on their heels a little bit,” Saline coach Dana Rosselot. “And the early goal was huge. If you go back over our last eight to 10 games against Northville, they’re almost always 1-0 games.”
Saline got the start it wanted and was clearly the better of the two teams for the first 10 minutes of the game. A little more than two minutes into the game, the Hornets were rewarded. Morgan Jones passed to Dahlmann, who redirected to Bella Petrock, who bolted straight up the left sideline. Toward the end of the run Petrock began cutting toward the goal and then found with the perfect pass in the middle. Dahlmann touched the ball past the keeper for the early lead.
Saline continued to put on the pressure early with Jones ringing a 20-yard shot off the goal post a couple minutes later.
It was 10 minutes into the contest before Northville was able to gain even footing. Midway through the first half, Udrys made a spectacular save. The Northville attacker got behind the Saline defense and fired a shot. Udrys dove to her left and batted the 7-foot high shot out of the air, off the crossbar and away from harm.
“One of the things that makes Annika special is that she can have games where she doesn’t see much action and then she finds a way to make a really difficult save,” Rosselot said.
At the other end of the field, Saline nearly made it 2-0 with three minutes to play in the first half. Lauren Rubin, Jones and Dahlmann had successive opportunities against the Northville keeper, who did just enough to keep the ball out of the goal.
The Hornet defense kept Northville from high-danger opportunities in the second half.
On Thursday, Saline defeated Pinckney, 1-0. Genesis Pena scored the game’s only goal with less than a minute to play.
Here are The Saline Post 3 Stars from Monday:
1) Annika Udrys - Wasn't called upon often, was was spectacular when she needed to be. Her save on Sarah Noonan is one of the best saves you're going to see all year.
2) Annika Dahlmann - She and Bella Petrock made the second goal look soccer so easy. Great finish by Dahlmann, and a great read and good pass to get it to Petrock, who gave it back. Dahlmann was in the right place and the right time almost all night for Saline.
3) Bella Petrock - Other girls deserve mention, especially Morgan Jones and Sarah Brannan. We chose Bella Petrock because she was always in the middle of everything. She won countless 50-50 battles to keep Northville away from high-danger scoring chances.