For Saline varsity lacrosse seniors like Jack Loveland, Wednesday’s 16-8 victory over Pioneer was a long time coming.
Loveland has been on varsity since his freshman year, and in that time, the Hornets had never defeated Pioneer.
“It mean’s everything. It feels so good to defeat a team we’ve never beat before,” Loveland said, adding that the victory also gives the Hornets an important early leg up in the SEC race. “I think we’re the clear leaders if we can beat Pioneer again.”
Loveland scored five goals and added an assist. Tanyr Krummenacher scored six goals and had three assists. Chris Peters and Jackson Fairman each had two goals. Thomas Mahmud also scored for Saline. Collin Clark picked up four ground balls and Mahmud scooped three. William Olson grabbed two ground balls.
Goalie Mason LaFleur turned aside 11 of 19 shots. He continues to play well as Shane Winkelseth sits out with an injury. LaFleur said he’s growing more comfortable.
“It was nerve-wracking at first, but my teammates all supported me. I’ve got a great defense in front of me,” LaFleur said.
Saline built a lead early against Pioneer. Loveland opened the scoring with an unassisted goal. Then Krummenacher scored two minutes later, with Loveland drawing the assist. Fairman made it 3-0 on a goal from Krummenacher. With 33 seconds left in the quarter, Krummenacher flipped it past the goalie from about 10 yards out. Saline led 4-0 after the first quarter.
A minute into the second quarter, Loveland scored his second of the game, a power-play rip from the center, about 12 yards from the goal. Pioneer finally got on the board, but Saline answered less than a minute later. From behind the net, Krummenacher centered to Loveland, who fired as he absorbed a hit that knocked him down. Loveland had the last laugh as the ball went in and Saline took a 6-1 lead. Peters scored his first goal of the game with 3:35 to play in the quarter. Again, it was Krummenacher setting up from behind the goal. Peters scored from five yards out with a high shot. Krummenacher completed his hat trick with 2:32 to play in the quarter. Krummenacher and Peters played catch behind the net before Krummenacher curled in front and whipped the ball into the goal for a powerplay goal. Saline carried the 8-1 lead into half time.
Pioneer scored first in the third quarter. Saline answered with a man up. Loveland spun around a defender and rifled a shot into the top corner. Saline made it 10-2 on one of the best goals of the game. Mahmud, a defender, sprinted all the way up the right wing from his defensive position and then fired a hard shot into the goal. Saline led 10-2.
Krummenacher scored two more goals before the quarter ended. Saline led 12-4 after three.
Krummenacher added two more in the fourth quarter. Peters and Loveland also scored.
On a night when Pioneer focused on shutting down Davis Bruneau, Saline still managed to score 16 goals, with Krummenacher leading the way with nine points.
“I lot of people hit the weight room over the off-season and got bigger, stronger and faster,” Krummenacher said when asked why this team has started so well, especially on offense. “We added Chris Peters. A couple more JV guys were called up. There are more options. If you focus on someone, it leaves open shots for everyone else.”
The Saline Post 3 Stars
1. Tanyr Krummenacher - Hard nosed and quick, Krummenacher is as good setting up goals as he is scoring them. He scored six goals and had three assists.
2. Jack Loveland - Has size, strength, quickness and skill to excel all over the field. Recorded five goals and an assist.
3. Mason LaFleur - Subbing for the injured starting goal Shane Winkelseth has played well for the Hornets. As coach Ryan Crawford said, every time Pioneer seemed to get a little closer, LaFleur came up with the big saves.