LACROSSE: Saline Avenges 2019 Loss, Wins First Regional Championship in Program History
It took two years, but the Hornets exacted their revenge, and they made Saline High School lacrosse history in the process.
Saline defeated Plymouth, 15-9, Tuesday at Skyline High School to win the first regional championship in the history of the Saline boys' lacrosse program. The victory was especially sweet for the senior class members of the team who lost a heartbreaking game to Plymouth in the the 2019 regional final.
Senior Eli Routt led the Hornet charge, scoring six goals on nine shots.
"It feels so good - it's the first one in Saline history. It was our goal from the beginning to get this. And it just feels so good to beat Plymouth after they beat us two years ago," Routt said while his teammates took pictures with each other and the trophy during the post-game celebration.
Saline advances to the quarterfinal game against Hartland. Hartland advanced with a 14-10 victory over Brighton.
Saline head coach Coach Ryan Crawford, who signed up for lacrosse while in middle school when the Saline program was launched, said the program has come a long way. He said this year's senior class helped carry the team to the next level.
"It's incredible. I knew we were building to this the last few years. We got really close in 2019. (Plymouth) got the best of us that day, but this year it's a different story man. This year's seniors were sophomores on that team. They knew what it meant and they knew what it took to get there," Crawford said. "The senior class was incredible."
Routt led Saline with six of the team's 15 goals. Owen Miller, CJ Robison and Brendan Shinavier each scored twice. Also scoring for the Hornets were Quinn Brophy, Brodie Mahmud and Brady Fiske. Mahmud and Fiske each had two assists.
Liam Belote led the Hornets with five groundballs and Xavier Spickard added four. Fiske and Robison each picked up three.
Spickard won 16 of 25 faceoffs.
Nat Keller caused three turnovers.
Chris Peterson made 16 saves in goal.
The Hornets were down 4-3 in the second quarter when Quinn Brophy took a pass from Miller and fired an overhand shot past the goalie to tie the score. The Hornets were never behind after that goal. With 4:13 to play in the quarter, Miller scored his first goal of the context, firing a shot from the slot past the goalie. With 1:09 left to play in the quarter, after the Hornet defense kept Plymouth from tying the game on a powerplay, CJ Robison fired a high hard shot past the goalie to make it 6-4.
The second half began with Plymouth scoring two goals in 34 seconds to tie the game. Saline replied with two goals in 1:07. First, Routt scored with an overhand blast from the right side. Then Mahmud took a pass from Quinn Brophy and scored from just a few yards out to make it 8-6.
Once again, however, Plymouth scored two goals to tie the game at eight.
But just seconds after Plymouth tied the game, Spickard controlled the faceoff and Routt gathered the ball at center. Routt endured several whacks and hacks as he stormed up the center of the field and into a throng of Wildcats before he fired the shot past the goalie. Routt was injured on the play and did not return until the fourth quarter, but goal gave Saline a lead they would not again relinquish.
"He's incredible. I don't know what else to say. He's just a very competitive kid and will do whatever it takes to win," Crawford said.
Saline didn't score on the ensuing man advantage, but they never lost possession and Owen Miller scored his second to make it 10-8. With 34.9 seconds left in the quarter, Mahmud whipped an underhand shot that never made it through. Fiske scooped the rebound and launched a rocket past the goalie to make it 11-8.
CJ Robison scored 20 seconds into the quarter to make it 12-8 Saline. Plymouth cut the lead to three with 7:19 to play, but the Hornets didn't allow them much room to dream about a comeback. Routt picked up a loose ball at half, took a hard crosscheck and maintained possession and then worked to the middle before he scored to make it 13-9.
Brendan Shinavier scored on a "behind-the-back" shot to make it 14-9 with 4:12 remaining. Routt finished the scoring with another highlight reel goal during a long possesion. He slipped once, kept possession, and then got knocked to the turf, and still kept possession, before he rose from the ground and scored.