By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saline Hornet Boys Lacrosse team hadn’t beaten the Ann Arbor Pioneers since 2014.
That changed Wednesday, Apr. 19 as they routed the Pioneers 16-8 and moved to 7-0.
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 that 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 the Hornets had to come back for a 10-9 win. “We stressed it in practice and we came out flying.”
A minute and thirty-one seconds into the game senior midfielder Jack Loveland fought his way right down the middle to put the Hornets up early. The Hornets set the tone early winning draws, groundballs, and possession time and had a 4-0 lead after the first quarter.
That early possession time led to a lot of shots and with the offense that the Hornets have it was only a matter of time until more found the back of the net.
The Hornet 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.
Loveland and 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 the Pioneers 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.
“That kid (Reid) is good enough to be a D1 prospect,” said Crawford. “He’s, my opinion, the best attacker we’ll see all year and Omar had his number from the get-go. He (Reid) couldn’t beat him. I don’t how many times he had to back out to the sideline, which isn’t where you want to be feeding the attack from because our slides were on point and he couldn’t get past Omar.”
“We’re gonna give you our best (on defense). If you can beat it with your best, cool we’ll adjust,” added Crawford. “If not then we’re gonna have a good night. Tonight Omar was best.”
Madmud 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, jumping up and down as he was mobbed by teammates and shouts from the sideline. The last time he scored a goal was his freshman year when he had four goals in four games.
“I was running with the ball looking for someone to give it off to, but I never found someone,” said Mahmud. ” I took it down and never saw a slide come so I just took my shot, right above the goalie into the far corner. Once I saw that it went in I felt so much excitement and confidence that I just let it out however I could. It was amazing, I’ve missed that feeling over the past few years.”
The Hornet defense, even after losing senior goalkeeper Shane Winkelseth to injury the past three games, has been rock solid thus far. Mahmud and juniors Collin Clark and Crawford make up the starting defense while junior Mason La Fleur has stepped in and stepped up in Winkelseth’s absence.
Goalscorers for the Hornets were Krummenacher (6), Loveland (5), Mahmud, senior midfielder Jackson Fairman (2), and junior attacker Chris Peters (2).
Crawford said the 7-0 start was the best in a long time, potentially in over ten years.
“It’s a great group,” said Crawford on this year’s team. “They love playing for each other, they play hard from the first whistle. We preach that. It’s four quarters lacrosse is crazy you can go on a run. 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.”