Saline’s field hockey team is going to the final four.
Saline defeated Forest Hills, 4-0, in the Michigan High School Field Hockey Association quarterfinal held Tuesday evening at Saline High School. Erin Reilly scored the game’s first two goals and Hannah Jarvie scored the last two, while Julia Bentley and Eva Doorlag split the shutout in goal.
Saline hosts Dexter in the semifinal at 7 p.m., Thursday, at Saline High School. The winner will play Pioneer or Huron in the state championship game Saturday afternoon at Dexter High School.
Saline faced Forest Hills earlier this season and had built a 3-0 lead before the game was called due to weather. While the Hornets were confident, they couldn’t take their opponents lightly, as they were coming off a convincing victory over Skyline.
Coach Erica Reilly wanted her team to keep it simple.
“We wanted to be first to the ball and we wanted to move the ball today with high ball speed. I think we did that. Our ball movement looked pretty good today,” Reilly said.
She was especially happy with the team’s energy.
“Most coaches know the pulse of their team when they step on the field and today I knew we might have it in the bag because of the way their attitude was. They were ready to go, psyched up and pumped. They really played hard, right from the whistle,” Reilly said.
Saline struck early when junior Erin Reilly converted a penalty corner.
“I entered it to Bridget (Skelly) and then Bridget passed it back. I wasn’t really open because I had people on my back, so I just turned and reverse shot and it went past the goalie,” Reilly said.
Midway through the half, Reilly struck again on a penalty corner.
“I entered it to Ally (Groth). She hit it and I touched with my stick and it went between the goalie’s legs I think,” Reilly said.
The early goals were important, Coach Reilly said, playing against last year’s Division 2 champions.
“Forest Hills is a very well coached team and they have a fierce counter attack with a couple forwards way down the field. They used that against Skyline, sending long balls down on beautiful counter attack opportunities,” Reilly said. “We wanted to put them on their heels right away.”
Jarvie made it 3-0 later in the first half with a goal over the goalie.
“Devin Reilly passed it to me and I did a one-time touch that deflected off the other team and went up in the top left corner,” Jarvie said.
In the second half, Jarvie iced it with her second goal of the game. It started with Jarvie intercepting a pass. She broke in with Groth running along side her and kept the ball.
“I pulled left, dribbled to the goalie and put it through her legs,” Jarvie said.
The Hornets now turn their attention to Dexter. Saline beat Dexter 3-2 when they played at Dexter early in the season. The Hornets know they’re in for a tough game.
“They have a super good goalie and a couple of really good key players that can we need to shut down, and then we’ll be good,” Erin Reilly said.
“It’s always a really close game when we play Dexter. But I think if we work on finishing and our passing game we’ll be fine,” Jarvie said.
Coach Erica Reilly said the team is going to watch film and practice on the turf tomorrow.
“We’re going to play loose, play hard, and be focused. Dexter is a tough team and extremely well coached. They’ve got girls who are some of the best kids in the country,” Reilly said. “They’re tough. They’ve got kids who can do some damage on offense.”
But Saline did beat them earlier – and Reilly likes the way her team has gelled.
“We’re finally clicking on offense. We’ve been working on attacking the circle, putting the ball in the net, making sure our tippers are in the right spots. So I feel like it’s all of the sudden just coming together,” Reilly said.
The regular season champion Hornets have reached another milestone by qualifying for the final four. Coach Erica Reilly said it’s been a goal since the start of the season.
“No other Saline team had done that in Division 1,” Reilly said.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Erin Reilly – She got the Hornets started with two big goals and dominated when patrolling the middle of the field.
- Hannah Jarvie – She scored twice and caused all kinds of trouble for the Forest Hills defense as she whirled around the offensive zone.
- Emi Maloney – Used to make a lot of headlines when she was a tipper in front of the goal. You don’t get as much glory on defense some nights, but Maloney was a rock for the Hornets. She helped stifle the Forest Hills attack and quickly turned defense into offense with well played balls.