Huron's overtime goal beats Pioneer, wins field hockey state championship
Jeff Sainlar I AnnArbor.com
The practice paid off.
Katie Yeatts scored 24 seconds into the extra session and the River Rats beat Pioneer, 2-1, in a state final at Dearborn Edsel Ford High School.
"We've practiced every day for seven aside. We knew it would come down to this because we knew we were an even matchup," Yeatts said.
Huron had possession from midfield to start overtime. Taylor Standiford carried the ball along the right side of the field, and her shot from a sharp angle was re-directed by Yeatts.
The teams were meeting in the state finals for the fourth consecutive year. The title was Huron's second in a row; Pioneer had won the previous four.
Pioneer (14-3-1) opened the scoring exactly nine minutes in when Sydney Supica scored off a penalty corner, Pioneer's only one of the game to the River Rats' 10. Huron (17-0-1) controlled play for the most part, outshooting Pioneer 11-3.
But the River Rats went more than 50 minutes without scoring until getting on the board with 7:42 to go. Off a scramble in front, the ball was past the goalie but hit a defender's leg, giving the River Rats a penalty stroke. Anna Masini scored on the stroke to tie the game.
This prompted a 10-minute "sudden victory" overtime, with seven players one each side instead of the usual 11.
Both coaches agreed the game was worthy of a state championship.
"Jane's players played a phenomenal game; our girls did too," Huron coach Tia Sutton said, referring to Pioneer coach Jane Nixon. "Nancy (Cox), my co-coach, said the other day: 'When you play Pioneer, you two make each other better. And it's true.'"
Nixon said she wasn't disappointed with the loss.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," she said. "We had a great effort, we had amazing senior leadership, we had grit, we had courage, we fought hard, we did our very best. I love that team."