Saline Soccer Claims District Title in Shootout

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It was an instant classic.

Arch-rivals Saline and Pioneer battled for 100 minutes and it wasn’t enough to decide a winner in the D1 district soccer final Thursday night so the teams went to a shootout to decide who advanced in the state tournament.

In the end, it was the Hornets who came out on top as they outshot Pioneer 4-2 in the shootout to claim the district trophy and move on to next week’s Regional at Skyline.

The fact that Saline even had a chance at winning was amazing in itself as the Hornets had to play shorthanded for over 30 minutes in the second half and overtime periods due to a red card removing a player from the game.

After a scoreless first half Pioneer found the net with 36 minutes left in regulation for a 1-0 lead

The Hornets had a great chance when Luke Allen headed an apparent goal into the net, but they were called offside to keep the game 1-0. A short time later the Hornets were handed a red card and played the rest of the game shorthanded.

Saline would keep battling and got a break when Pioneer was called for a handball in the box to give the Hornets a penalty kick.

Christian Rossi ties it up with a penalty kick with 5:55 left. Photo by Dawn McCann

There was no doubt when the Hornet’s all-time leading goal scorer Christin Rossi stepped to the line that the game would be tied at one and it was when Rossi drilled it home.

The teams remained tied through the end of regulation to send it to two 10-minute overtime periods.

Pioneer carried most of the play in the second overtime session, but its best shot went over the top of the net to keep it tied 1-1 and send the game into a shootout.

Riley Behrman dove to his left and stopped the first shot he faced and Allen found net to put Saline up 1-0 after one.

Riley Behrman makes a diving save in the first round of the shootout against Pioneer. Photo by Dawn McCann

Pioneer scored, but Michael Bryant drilled one home to make it 2-1.

Another goal by Pioneer made it 2-2, but Rossi drilled a no-doubter to make it 3-2 after three rounds.

Behrman then would make another diving save by diving to his right and he then had a chance to clinch the title with a goal of his own. He calmly placed the ball in the left corner and was mobbed by the Saline team and its student section as the Hornets clinched the district title with the 2-1 (4-2) win.

The Hornets celebrate the district title with coach Ryan Williams. Photo by Dawn McCann

The Hornets will take on Dearborn Edsel Ford in the Regional semifinal Tuesday at 5:00 PM.

Photos by Dawn McCann