Chelsea Girls' Water Polo Moves to Regionals for First Time


Photo from Chelsea Water Polo Twitter

For the first time in school history the Chelsea girls’ water polo team moved on to the Regional round of the state tournament after a fourth-place finish at the east district at Ann Arbor Huron this weekend.

The Bulldogs opened quarterfinal play by beating Ann Arbor Pioneer 7-6 in sudden death triple overtime.

Goal by Dakota Drew and Bella Turner left the game tied at two after one period.

Turner would add two more goals in the second as Chelsea took a 4-2 lead into the half.

Two more goals for Turner in the third and three goals by Pioneer left the score at 6-5 Bulldogs after three setting up an exciting finish.

Pioneer would score once in the final period to tie the game at 6-6 to send it into overtime.

Neither team could score in the first two overtimes leaving the score at 6-6 heading to the sudden death third OT.

Pioneer got called for an exclusion giving the Bulldogs a 6-5 advantage. Kiera Crawley lifted a pass to Jessica Neff who lofted a shot over the outstretched arm of the Pioneer goalie for the game winner sending the Bulldogs on to the district semifinals for the first time in school history.

Turner led the Bulldogs with five goals, while Neff scored the game winner and assisted on two goals. Drew added one goal for the Bulldogs while Mya Spadafore made eight saves in net for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs struggled in their semifinal match against fifth-ranked Ann Arbor Huron falling 16-0 to the River Rats.

Huron’s pressure forced 23 Chelsea turnovers and the Bulldogs could muster just 11 shots on goal in the match.

Spadafore made seven saves in net, while Fiona Stoker made two.

The Bulldogs then fell to Saline 21-5 in the third-place match.

Chelsea, Paddock, Neff, and Turner scored first half goals as Saline took a 10-3 lead at the half. The Hornets blew the game open with eight third period goals to take a commanding 18-4 lead.

Turner finished with three goals and an assist to lead Chelsea. Emma Zachrich and Hannah Harmes picked up two assists each for the Bulldogs while Spadafore made five saves in net.

Chelsea advances to the Regional round and will face Birmingham Seaholm in the opener Thursday night.

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