The Saline High School field hockey team’s season came to an end on a cold, wet and windy night at Hornet Stadium.
Marion defeated Saline, 3-0, to advance to the Michigan High School Field Hockey Association semifinals.
Using long balls and a speedy attack, Marion scored two goals in the first half. The added another on a scramble in front of Saline goalie Julia Bentley early in the second half.
Only three weeks ago, Saline beat Marion 2-1. What changed?
“They’re an extremely athletic team with a super fast right winger and a good center. They got behind our defense more than they did last time,” Saline coach Erica Reilly said.
On the other side of the ball, Saline’s precision passing game seemed to struggle in the rain. The Marion goalie turned aside several good shots from star sophomore Erin Reilly and the Marion defense kept speedy forward Hannah Jarvie from getting dangerous looks at the net.
“Marion is one heck of a team. If they play against Huron like they did against us tonight, they’ll give Huron a run for their money,” Erica Reilly said.
The Lady Hornets wanted a rematch against top-ranked Huron for the chance to go to the state championship game, so they were disappointed by the loss. But coach Reilly said the team can be proud of its season.
“I wasn’t sure what we were going to have when the season started. We lost some big, strong gals last season. So I was thrilled with the season. We went 13 and 4. We were fourth out of 16 teams in Division 1,” Reilly said. “I thought we did very well. The girls can hold their heads up high.”
It was the last game for Saline seniors Grace Livsey, Torey Douglas, Aerin Kwant and Kari Szalay.
“What a great group. We have four tremendous seniors that made their mark and were wonderful role models for our girls,” Reilly said.
Their contributions were personified by Szalay Tuesday. The two-year captain had been ill with strep throat, yet she came out to play in ugly weather.
“Look at what she did today. She’s been sick all week and she came out and played her heart out. You knew she wasn’t feeling well, but she kept battling,” Reilly said.
It’s the kind of lesson that the younger players will take to heart when they return next season.
“We learned a lot this year. We have a lot of great things to build on, and a great group coming back,” Reilly said.
The SISU Mouth Guard 3 Stars Are:
- Erin Reilly – Turned plays around all night at midfield. Generated some of Saline’s best shots.
- Kari Szalay – The senior captain returned from illness to play in the frigid rain and howling wind – because that’s what captains do.
- Hannah Jarvie – Used her speed to drive the goal and create opportunities, but the Marion defense played her tough and didn’t let much through.