Saline skunked Chelsea 7-0 in Division 1 field hockey action at Saline High School Tuesday night.
Coach Erica Reilly wanted to see the girls get off to a good start – and the team granted her wish.
Sophia Tzavaras scored the first of her two goals 2:10 into the game and the Hornets never looked back.
“We’ve been a second half team a lot this year. So I challenged the girls to come out strong and score within the first two minutes,” Reilly said. “We were pretty close to that.
Tzavaras goal came on a great centering pass from Devin Reilly, who stickhandled between two Bulldogs on the right side and then had everyone thinking shot when she passed to Tzavaras.
About seven minutes later, Saline attacked on the left side. This time it was Bridget Skelly and Kaleigh Riggs doing the heavy lifting. Skelly and Riggs won several battles for possession and continued to press. Finally Riggs neatly played the ball ahead, between two Bull Dogs, hitting the speedy Skelly on the fly. Skelly raced past her check and then fired a tough-angle shot on goal. The ball spun behind the Chelsea goalie where Emily Maloney jammed it in. Saline led 2-0.
Midway through the first half the Hornets scored again. On a penalty corner Grace Livsey played it into Shannon Reilly and clubbed a shot so hard it knocked the stick out of a Chelsea girl’s hand and still went in the goal. Saline led 3-0.
Saline went up 4-0 with 7:40 to play in the half. Skelly burst up the left-wing and turned a Bulldog inside out to get inside-position. She centered to Tzavaras who slammed home her second goal of the game.
Coach Reilly was asked about the play of her speedy freshman.
“She’s quick and skilled and she’s starting to play with confidence. I think she had a bit of a coming out party tonight,” Reilly said.
The Hornets held the Bulldogs at bay for all but one minute of the period. Late in half, the Bulldogs frenzied around the Saline goal, but Julia Bentley kicked out one shot and then dove to block another.
“We had a goal at the start of the year that we wanted eight shutouts. She’s the last line of defense back there and she held the fort,” coach Reilly said.
The Hornets added three goals in the second half. First Devin Reilly scored on a penalty corner. Her heavy shot sounded like a thunder clap when it hit the back of the net.
Riggs made it 6-0 with a nifty backhand shot, continuing her strong game.
And Alva Helber finished the scoring when she collected a rebound and shot it into the goal.
SISU Mouth Guard 3 Stars
- Bridget Skelly – The Saline freshman had the strongest game of her varsity career with two assists that displayed speed, skill and tenacity.
- Sophia Tzavaras – Last year Tzavaras scored the championship winning goal in the shootout. She’s mostly known for the kind of goals she scored Tuesday. Go to the net and good things happen. She scored two. Young Emily Maloney seems to be a player in this mold too.
- Devin Reilly – She opened the scoring when she drew everyone’s attention and then passed to Tzavaras, who scored into a yawning cage. Then she scored the first goal of the second half, a blast that was every bit as hard as older sister Shannon’s.