Saline defeated Huron and lived to play again as the MHSAA Division 1 girls soccer playoffs continued Thursday evening. Nora Udrys and Annika Dahlmann scored and Annika Udrys made several stops in a 2-0 victory over Huron.
Saline advances to the district championship at 5 p.m., Thursday, at Skyline High School.
Coach Dana Rosselot had mixed feelings about the team’s performance Thursday – but above all else, she was happy her team was moving on to play again. On the positive side, Rosselot said she was happy her team found a way to beat Huron for a third time.
“We’ve played Huron three times. They’ve thrown three different game plans at us and we’ve won all three games, without giving up a goal. That’s impressive, especially considering they are fast on the attack,” Rosselot said.
On the other hand, Rosselot didn’t think her team brought its “A” game on the defensive side of the ball.
“A lot of times, when an opponent gets by our first girl, we’ve got another girl there to stop her. But we weren’t doing that today,” Rosselot said.
Saline controlled the contest’s tempo.
The Hornets opened the scoring midway through the first half. Nora Udrys used speed and strength to break lose from her defender as she bolted up the left wing, cut toward the net and then fired a bouncing shot past the Huron keeper.
“I tool the defender, one vs. one, and ran past her and past it right past the goalie,” Udrys said. “It was important to get us motivated.”
The Hornets controlled play most the game. Huron’s best chance came about 10 minutes later on a free kick from 25 yards out, on the right side. Keeper Annika Udrys had no trouble catching the shot.
The second half continued with Saline generating good chances. One of Saline’s best chances came on a corner kick. The kick came from the right corner and bounced off the goalie back to Genesis Pena. Pena kicked it back – this time over the scrum to the left side of the box, where Tate Robison headed the ball on net, just a few yards from the net. But the Huron keeper anticipated the shot and caught it.
Meanwhile, Saline’s defense allowed shots – but nothing very dangerous. Midfielder Bella Petrock said an efficient passing game helped the Hornets on defense.
“One of the things we focused on was playing feet (passing directly to a teammate). Because the more you play it long, the more you exhaust yourself trying to catch up, and the better the chance the other team has to clear it, and then we have to run back to play defense again,” Petrock said. “So the biggest things were playing more organized defense, sticking to marks and playing to feet.”
With eight minutes to play, Saline got the equalizer. Annika Dahlmann scored on a corner kick from Pena.
“Gen had the kick late in the second half. It went straight to my head. I had no mark. It went straight past the goalie and into the net,” Dahlmann said. “With Huron, if you get the second goal, they tend to back off a little more, so it made it a little more comfortable for us.”
Saline had a couple more chances to score. Erin Reilly headed a great centering pass just the post. A moment later, she had the ball again just outside the box. This time she fired a shot a few feet over the crossbar.
Saline kept Huron from generating any dangerous scoring opportunities down the stretch.
Now the Hornets have the biggest test of the district. Saline faces Skyline at 5 p.m. Saturday at Skyline. The Eagles will have homefield advantage. The teams tied 0-0 the first time they played, April 12, at Skyline. When the faced off again May 8 at Saline, the Hornets won, 1-0, to put themselves in the driver’s seat in the SEC Red standings.
Coach Rosselot said Saline and Skyline are similar teams.
“It should be a great game. They’re a lot like us. They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. It’s going to come down to who can find away to put the ball in the net and who can avoid the big mistake,” Rosselot said.
The Saline Post 3 Stars of the Game
- Bella Petrock – Every the ball was, Petrock was there, winning battles and turning the ball back toward Huron’s goal.
- Nora Udrys – Udrys’s goal came on a great individual effort. She showed more than speed. She also showed the ability to fight of a defender and then get separation. She was dangerous rushing the ball all game.
- Annika Dahlmann – The scored the important insurance goal but also helped at midfield and in the defensive zone throughout the game.