By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saline Hornets Girls Soccer season came to an end last week. They fell in the Division one Regional Final game against the Novi Wildcats, at Novi Meadows Middle School on Jun. 7, 4-0.
A battle of two top ten teams in the state, the Hornets knew it would be a battle. Hornet head coach Dana Rosselot said that despite only seeing them play once, knew that the Wildcats could attack from anywhere.
The Wildcats were active early, earning early corner kicks and getting service into the box from the wings. Less than two minutes into the game Wildcat junior Jessie Bandyk found the back of the net off of a corner kick.
With 32:15 remaining in the first half, Wildcat sophomore forward Avery Fenchel hit a ball towards the net that hit a Hornet defender first before going in.
The Hornets were able to start gaining possession and move forward more halfway through the first half as they adjusted to the Wildcat offensive pressure. Senior goalkeeper Annika Udrys made a point-blank save with 15 minutes remaining to keep the score at 2-0 going into halftime.
At halftime, adjustments for the Hornets included moving senior center back Sarah Brannan into the midfield and trying to keep three players up higher to get more chances offensively.
“We just looked timid in the first half,” said Rosselot. “That’s not us. We can’t thrive on us playing timid or shy. At halftime, we just said, ‘we have to fight.’”
In the second half, the Hornets continued to play tough defense, but the offensive diversity of the Wildcats began to wear the Hornets down.
The Hornets best chance to get on the board came with under twelve minutes remaining, the Hornets won a corner kick and committed everyone forward but Udrys and a center back, a few Hornets got a head on the ball a couple of times but nothing the Wildcat goalkeeper didn’t save.
The Wildcats scored two more goals in the 52’ and 74’ to claim the Regional title, 4-0.
“After we settled in in that first ten thought we did a good job,” said Rosselot after the game. “Obviously have to push for goals which leaves us a little vulnerable defensively and they’re just too good to have to spread yourself. Novi was just better than us tonight, you can walk away dealing with that alright.”
As Rosselot spoke to The Sun Times after the game she became emotional, in addition to the game being the last for 11 seniors, Rosselot coached her last game as well. Last year, she took the year off for the birth of her first child. Next year, she’ll be having her second child and will focus on parenthood.
“I have 11 seniors,” said Rosselot with tears in her eyes. “Been with them through all four years. They mean so much to me. The resume they have, its insane. A state title, two state semifinal appearances , three elite eight appearances, two regional championships, three district championships, SEC champs for four years undefeated, haven’t given up a goal the last two seasons in the SEC. It’s pretty great knowing that where they started, where I started, the programs in a better place. I’m excited to come watch them next year.”
The Hornets finished with a record of 12-4-3 (8-0-2).