By Angelo Parlove
If the Hornets were going to topple Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central – who scored seven goals in two regional games – in the playoffs, they were going to have to battle all night on the defensive end.
The Saline defense – led by seniors Emma Wright, Abbey Bowen, juniors Morgan Jones and Sarah Brannan as well as freshman Sophia Wood – thwarted one offensive surge after another from the top-ranked Forest Hills Central, including turning away more than ten corner kicks in the contest.
However, one well-executed play from Forest Hills Central – who would eventually win the state championship three days later – ended the Hornets impressive season. Saline fell 1-0 to Forest Hills Central in the MHSAA Division 1 Semi-Final at Spring Arbor University June 14.
Junior goalkeeper Annika Udrys kept Saline in the game the whole night, coming up with big stops in net, including four saves in the final minutes, as the Hornets battled down to the last seconds. However, one nifty play got past the Saline defense and Udrys.
With 3:47 left in the first half, Forest Hills Central sent a deep kick across the front of the Saline net, with another Ranger getting a foot on it in the box, redirecting a shot past Udrys to grab the 1-0 lead. It proved to be the only score of the match.
The Hornets incredible run through the playoffs ended at the final four in the state.