By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saline boys’ lacrosse team hosted Ann Arbor Pioneer April 18 and routed the Pioneers 16-8 for a season record of 7-0 . The Hornets hadn’t beaten the Pioneers since 2014.
Hornet head coach Ryan Crawford told The Sun Times that he was pretty sure none of the Varsity players had gotten a win against Pioneer.
“(It) felt great,” said Crawford after the win. “I think it shows that this team is capable of playing with anyone in the state.”
Coming into the game the Hornets knew how well the Pioneers could control the ball as well as the talent they had.
“We knew we couldn’t start like we did against Plymouth,” said Crawford, referring to their only close game of the season in which they came back for a 10-9 win. “We stressed it in practice and we came out flying.”
The Hornets set the tone early winning draws, ground balls, and possession time and had a 4-0 lead after the first quarter. That early possession led to a lot of shots and with offense that the Hornets have it was just a matter of time until more found the back of the net.
The Saline attack was consistent throughout the night and as Pioneer began to rack up penalties as the game went on the Hornets made sure to capitalize. Three out of four Hornet goals in the second quarter were on the penalty.
Jack Loveland and Tanyr Krummenacher accounted for six of the eight first half goals for the Hornets as they took an 8-1 lead into halftime. Loveland (5) and Krummenacher (6) led the team in goals.
“They played their game. They’re both very smart players and they know when they need to shoot and when they need to pass,” said Crawford on Loveland and Krummenacher. “I think Tanyr was even as far as goals and assists tonight and that’s invaluable. And Jack, when he’s going, no one can run with him in my opinion. He’s just on another level right now, for sure.
Both sides added goals in the third quarter, but the Hornets still outscored the Pioneers 4-2.
The Pioneers outscored the Hornets 5-4 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as the early lead earned by the Hornets forced Pioneer out of their bread and butter.
After the game, Crawford identified senior defender Omar Mahmud as a standout player from the game and said he thought Mahmud played his best game of the year. The Hornets knew Pioneer senior attacker John Reid was a big threat.
The plan had been to have junior defender Cameron Crawford assigned to Reid.
“Upon arriving at the field, I was told by Coach Crawford that I would be guarding him (Reid) from the start,” said Mahmud. “I knew that Reid was more athletic than I was, but I knew that to keep up with him and deny him as many goals as possible, I would have to play him conservatively and stay focused on my positioning.”
Mahmud did just that forcing multiple attacks and attackers back out to the sidelines during the game.
Mahmud even got in on the scoring, taking the ball up the right side in the third quarter to give the Hornets a 10-2 lead.
Goalscorers for the Hornets were Krummenacher (6), Loveland (5), Mahmud, senior midfielder Jackson Fairman (2), and junior attacker Chris Peters (2).
“It’s a great group,” said Crawford on this year’s team. “They play hard from the first whistle. If we’re in control early not many teams can beat us. This team has a lot of experience and a lot of talent. We haven’t really played anyone who isn’t good and were showing up game in and game out for four quarters.”
April 20 the Hornets traveled to Northville and lost their first game of the season, a comeback that came up just short, 11-10.
Northville was able to score 8 of their 11 goals after a Hornet penalty, but even with that the Hornets had one last chance to tie with 20 seconds that came up short.
Despite the loss Crawford saw the positive.
“Even when we have a down game we can still fight enough to stay in it,” said Crawford. “Persistence and effort can really carry you if you’re willing to put in the work. This team has enough talent to compete with anyone we just need to clean up our play.”