Pioneer rolls over Saline in field hockey state quarterfinal
Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.com
The Pioneer and Huron high school field hockey teams are once again on a crash course headed for one another. Both teams, who have played in the past three state title games, advanced past the Michigan Field Hockey Association quarterfinal round on Tuesday.
Pioneer did so with a 6-0 win over Saline at home on Tuesday night.“We have great senior leadership,” said Pioneer coach Jane Nixon. “They’re solid individuals and characters.”
Two of those seniors, Sydney Supica and Sarah Spaid led the Pioneers with two goals each against the Hornets.
Stephanie Terrell opened the scoring for the Pioneers at the 12:40 mark of the first half. Almost six minutes later, Spaid scored to give Pioneer a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We were working hard to make sure we’re making solid passes and using the whole field,” Nixon said.
Saline senior goaltender Jessie Opaleski kept the Hornets in the game in the first half, but Pioneer’s constant pressure in the second proved too much as Saline couldn’t counter with an attack of its own.
“(Opaleski) saved the day for Saline,” said Saline coach Don Hes.
Saline showed some signs of life early in the second half, but failed to convert on a corner attempt and couldn’t keep up the pressure. Pioneer would then score three goals in a 6:30 span to give them a 5-0 lead.
Despite the loss, Hes felt his team competed all the way through to the end.
“(Saline) played very well. (The girls) played one of their best games, Pioneer was just the better team tonight,” said Hes.
Nixon agreed with Hes.
“Saline is a solid team, they’re strong and poised,” she said.
Pioneer will face Livonia Ladywood at 4 p.m Thursday at Dearborn Edsel Ford High School, following Huron’s semifinal against Farmington Hills Mercy. Huron beat Grosse Pointe South 5-1 in its quarterfinal game. Pioneer is 1-0-1 against Ladywood this season.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time. We’re all about the team,” Nixon said. “These girls have really embraced that.”
Matt Durr covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.