SOCCER: Saline Takes 1 of 3 Games at Balconi Tournament

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Drew Barker scores one of his two goals in Saline's 6-4 loss to Clarkston.

CANTON TOWNSHIP - Saline's varsity soccer team opened the season with a victory over Grand Blanc before dropping games to Salem and Clarkston in the Balconi Invitational at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Saturday.

Saline is 1-2 to start the season.

Saline opened by defeating  Grand Blanc in penalties. Grand Blanc opened the scoring early in the game before Connor Mitzel set up Michael Bryant's goal.

In the penalties, Drew Barker, Christian Rossi, Michael Bryant and Behrman  scored for Saline before Mitzel scored the game-winner.

Saline's second game against Salem, who went to the regional final last year, was close, too. The Hornets outplayed Salem in the first half. Salem scored the game's only goal in the second half. Behrman played goal for the Hornets again with Gunnar Bohlender being "somewhat banged up" according to coach Ryan Williams.

The Hornets' final game of the day was against Clarkston, another regional finalist last year and a team considered one of the top five teams in the state.

Saline fell behind 3-0 and lost 6-4.

Coach Williams was disappointed by the loss.

"I was disappointed in our lack of competitiveness. They have some of the top kids in the state and we were caught sleeping and a little flatfooted," Williams said. "Once we started playing I saw a lot of positives."

Keeper Riley Behrman was under siege for the first 40 minutes of the game.

"Riley played great today. There could have easily been more goals against us today.

Saline got on the scoreboard late in the first half with Sean Courtney scored while sprinting up the left wing.

In the second half, Rossi scored as he zipped through a crowd and ripped a shot into the goal from the top of the box. 

Moments later, after a Clarkson goal on a free kick, Drew Barker won a 50/50 battle after a throw-in, split the defense and wired a shot into the goal.

Barker added another goal when his corner kick glanced in off a Clarkston player.

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The Saline Post has more than 300 photos from the Clarkston game in this online gallery.

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