Saline-Milan Water Polo Second at East Regional
The Saline-Milan water polo team earned a second-place finish in the East regional hosted by Saline this weekend and qualified for the state finals tournament for the first time since 2021 before Saline and Milan combined for a co-op team.
The Chickadees entered the regional seeded second and opened with a 14-0 thrashing of Birmingham Seaholm Friday night.
The shutout was the first ever for Saline-Milan, but the offensive showing was just as impressive for the Chickadees.
After a slow start, the Chickadees got things going with goals by Rylee Mitchell, Kiera Luhrs, and Elaina Malach for a 3-0 lead after one.
While the Saline-Milan offense continued to struggle to find the net in the second, the Chickadee defense held tough before Malach scored her second of the game for a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Malach opened the third period with her third goal of the night and Saline-Milan got things rolling with three more goals by Sara Mitchell, Rylee Mitchell, and Luhrs to blow the game open with an 8-0 lead after three.
The final period was all Saline-Milan as Malach added three more goals, and Annabelle Williams, Rylee Mitchell, and Sara Mitchell each found the net to finish off the rout.
Malach finished with a team-high six goals and one assist to lead the offense.
Rylee Mitchell finished with three goals and three assists, Luhrs two goals and three assists, Sara Mitchell two goals and one assist, Williams one goal and two assists, Alex Lillie and Dori Cook one assist each.
Kelsey Altevogt was a wall in net for the Chickadees, stopping all 10 shots she faced and assisted on two goals.
A 3-0 run in the third period helped Saline-Milan pull away from Chelsea for a 10-4 in in the semifinals.
Sara Mitchell led the Chickadees with three goals and one assist. Malach fnished with two goals and four assists, while Rylee Mitchell and Luhrs had two goals and one assist each. Williams added one goal, while Cook had two assists, and Altevogt one.
The championship match saw rival Pioneer pull away in the second half to hand Saline-Milan a 10-6 loss.
The teams were tied at 5-5 at halftime, but Pioneer outscored the Chickadees 5-1 in the second half to pull away for the win.
Luhrs and Malach had two goals and one assist to lead the offense. Williams and Sara Mitchell scored one goal each, while Rylee Mitchell had four assists. Altevogt kept the game close with 11 saves in net for Saline-Milan.
The Chickadees will face Rockford in the state championship tournament opener, Friday June 2 at 5:15. A win guarantees a top 4 finish in the state and a loss means a 5th-8th place finish.
Photos by Mike Williamson