FIELD HOCKEY: Saline's 0-0 Dexter Demonstrates Improvement

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Back on Aug. 1, Saline visited Dexter for a varsity field hockey contest and came home with a 5-1 loss.

Monday, Saline hosted Dexter and the teams played to a scoreless tie.

That should give you some idea of the improvement the Hornets have made this season.

Saline entered Monday's contest on a five-game winning streak - including the Oct. 6 2-1 upset of the defending state champs from Skyline.

Coach Sophia O'Connor said she was proud of the Hornets' play.

"We've improved a lot from our first game," O'Connor said.

There aren't many offensive highlights in a scoreless tie. Saline's best chance was a second-quarter penalty corner that resulted in Payton Maloney's hard shot being deflected over the goal.  The Hornets had three consecutive corners at the end of the third quarter but couldn't find a way to generate a shot on goal.

The Saline defense and goalie Megan Clauser were equally good - and probably better. The Hornet spent most of the fourth quarter trapped in their own zone by a Dexter team with a deeper roster.

"Megan is awesome. She's been outstanding all year. She saved us in a lot of key opportunities," O'Connor said. "Our defense has been really great, too. They've been able to work together as a team."

At one point in the fourth quarter, the Hornets were down two players who received cards. O'Connor credited the team's desire.

"It's their drive. They want to win every game. They fight hard to win every game and fight hard to win for each other.

O'Connor praised the play of freshman midfielder Clare Arvai.

"She stopped a lot of our corners. There were a lot of corners where she was able to get the ball out and stop those offensive plays for them," O'Connor said.

The Hornets are riding high with their recent play. Their win over Skyline has fueled their confidence.

"That was huge for our program. They were the state champs last year. We lost to them in the semifinals and they were undefeated until we played them the other night," O'Connor said. "Feeding off that win, I think we can take it until the end of the season."

Saline hosts Pioneer Wednesday for senior night. The Hornets lost to Pioneer, 2-0, the last time they played.

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