LACROSSE: Erin Melcher Propels Saline Past Canton on Opening Night

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Junior Erin Melcher scored three of her six goals in the final 12 minutes of the second half as Saline beat Canton at home Wednesday, 16-13, to open the season.

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Saline spent most of the game building small leads, only to watch Canton come back and tie it. The Hornets led 12-10 when Canton scored two goals in 24 seconds to tie the game.

That's when Melcher took over. She left three Chiefs on the turf with a strong power move and then scored to give Saline a 13-12 lead with 10:01 to play. Melcher scored again to make it 14-12 with 5:28 to play. Kate Aeschliman scored to make it 15-12. 

Canton scored with 3:45 to make it a two-goal game. The Hornets controlled the faceoff, took the play deep and played keep-away for more than 60 seconds before Melcher scored her sixth of the contest.

Coach Darren Pawlowski said that's the kind of game the Hornets want to see from Melcher.

"She did an awesome job. We're putting her into a leadership role. She's got good experience and good skills. So we want her to be the one who brings the ball down the field and then slows it down so we can settle into our offense," Pawlowski said.

Melcher finished with six goals and two assists.

Kate Aeschliman scored four goals, and Vivian Davis and Aubrey Slager each scored two goals.

Julia Scarcella made several good saves in the second half to help the Hornets' cause.

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Pawlowski was impressed with the Hornets' defense over the last 12 minutes of the game.

"It was a team effort. There are lots of teams with great individual players. But the championship teams win with great teamwork," Pawlowski said.

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Interview with Erin Melcher

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Following the game, the coaches awarded the hard hat for the game's hardest worker to Madeline Nishioka.

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