LACROSSE: Penalties Thrwart Comeback as Saline Falls to Pionner in Regional Semifinal


The Saline varsity boys' lacrosse season saw the season come to an end last Thursday in a 13-9 loss to Pioneer.

The Hornets knew they were in for a tough game having lost to Pioneer, 10-5, at Pioneer on May 3. But Saline also played Pioneer very tough in a 10-9 loss at April 12.

When Saline allowed three straight goals in the second quarter of the regional semifinal Thursday, the game felt more like the former than the latter.

But the Hornets battled back and even took the lead before penalties took their toll.

It was a tough loss, but coach Ryan Mailloux was proud of the Hornets' effort.

"I'm going to need some time to digest this one. The guys hustled their butt off today. They gave everything. I feel horrible for my seniors that this is how it's going to end," Mailloux said. "I can't thank them enough for all their effort. I love this group."

Saline finished the season with a 10-9 record.

Senior captain Owen Miller scored four goals in his final game as a Hornet, willing Saline back into the game in the second quarter with several strong individual efforts. Sophomore Jon Jon Ohren Hoeft had two goals. Colman McNamera, Conor Farrell, Andrew Boehm also scored. Goalie Owen Brown made 11 saves.

Pioneer opened the scoring early in the game on a counterattack. Max Friedman scored to make it 1-0. Midway through the quarter, Pioneer went up 2-0 when Friedman picked up a loose ball in front of the net and put it past Brown to make it 2-0.

Owen Miller put the Hornets on the board, bringing the ball from behind the net, getting just a little separation and firing a shot in the net.


The second quarter didn't start well for Saline. 1:03 into the frame, Levi Rosenberg ran into the slot and scored with a low shot.  31 seconds later, on the powerplay, Bennett Ayers scored to make it 4-1.  Right off the faceoff, the Pioneers controlled and Rosenberg scored again. With three goalies in 54 seconds, Pioneer led 5-1.

A lesser team might have given in, but the Hornets just battled harder. Where the Pioneers seemed faster to the loose balls, the Hornets were the more physical team and began forcing turnovers.

Jon Jon Ohren sprinted through traffic and fired a shot past the Pioneer goalie to make it 5-2 with 8:22 remaining in the quarter. Miller made it 5-3 less than a minute later, firing a shot shortside from the left wing.

With 6:56 to play, Miller scored a beauty. Covered by what seemed like half the defense, Miller was surrounded. He tried to charge through on the forehand, but with nowhere to go, he turned, went to the backhand and whipped it in to make it 5-4.

A little more than a minute later, Miller tied the game at five with a side-arm swipe from the left flank.

The Hornets took the lead, ever so briefly. Cole McNamera scored after Michael Webster did great work  killing off the mand advantage for Pioneer. The freshman fired in an overhand shot to give Saline a 6-5 lead. 

Ayers scored a powerplay goal for Pioneer late in the quarter to tie the game.

Early in the third, the game got away from Saline. Penalties were a problem.

51 seconds in, Pioneer took the lead with a powerplay goal. Saline killed off two more powerplays - but Pioneer scored after a long possession to make it 8-6 midway through the quarter.


Andrew Boehm got the Hornets back to within a goal with a well-placed shot. 


Then the Hornets tied early in the fourth quarter on a pretty passing play. Boehm found Farrell in front of the net and Farrell beat the Pioneer goalie high. The game was tied at 8, 2:11 into the quarter.

Pioneer won the ensuing faceoff and Angus Macqueen scored just 11 seconds later to make it 9-8.


Jon Jon Hoeft tied the score with 7:57 to play in regulation, cutting to the middle and shooting back the other way. Again, Pioneer won the draw and 30 seconds later, Rosenberg scored to make it 10-9. 

Down the stretch, Pioneer added a couple more powerplay goals. 

The penalties were a problem throughout the game for the Hornets.

"Penalties were the difference - not playing smart," Mailloux said. "We've got a lot of young guys and they've got to learn."

Senior Owen Miller, on the other hand, was one of the reasons why the Hornets climbed back in the game. He'll play at the University of Detroit Mercy next year.

"He's captain for a reason. He was never going to give up. I'm really proud of him and excited to see him at Detroit next year," Mailloux said.

The young Hornets will need to learn from their mistakes, but  youngsters like Ohren-Hoeft and McNamera show promise for the future.

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