It’s the match-up some wanted and many felt would happen, but it wasn’t easy for either team. Pioneer and Dexter both drew tough assignments in Thursday’s Michigan High School Field Hockey Association (MHSFHA) semifinal games and when the teams took the field things got even tougher – even crazier on a spectacular night for high school field hockey.
One thing that the semifinals proved is that the SEC is the best conference in the state when it comes to field hockey – and this topic is now closed for debate. SEC teams will play for state titles in BOTH Division 1 and Division 2 on Saturday.
Pioneer will play Dexter in the MHSFHA Division 1 State Finals at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Chelsea High School.
In Division 2, Skyline will play Chelsea in the state finals at 11 a.m. at Brighton (Scranton Middle School).
Pioneer scored a 1-0 victory over a very good Saline team (yes, another SEC team) and it took some extra time to put this one in the win column. The Pioneers won 1-0 in (7 v 7) in overtime at Huron High School in the first of two semifinal games.
The Hornets, one of the top ranked teams in the state all season, had plenty of chances to put the game away including a corner with time expired. But the overtime didn’t last long. Just 90 seconds into OT, Zoe Bormet passed to Natalie Millman who delivered the game’s only goal and sent the Pioneers into the finals.
The Dexter game against a quality Marian side also was exciting but this one was decided in regulation. Dexter scored three second-half goals for a 3-0 win in the second game at Huron HS.
The top-ranked Dreadnaughts out-shot Marian in the first half but couldn’t convert. They finally broke through at 10:41 into the second half when Abby Tamer scored with an assist from Kylee Niswonger. At 20:45, the Dreads doubled their lead when Giuliana Rokke scored with an assist from Claire Vaughn. Just a few minutes later, Tamer scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0 and send Marian packing.
Dexter controlled play and earned 19 corners and outshot Marian 14-0. Vaughn anchored the defense and Rokke and Gracie Burns also had strong games for the Dreadnaughts.
Maggie Jones earned the shutout in the cage for the Dreadnaughts. The Dexter defense did an incredible job all night as they prevented Marian from getting a shot on goal the entire game.
Dexter, which won the Division 2 State Finals in 2014, has lost twice in the D-1 finals, including to Pioneer in 2016. The two teams met once this past season when Pioneer scored a 1-0 victory over host Dexter on Oct. 14. “We took away lessons at both the individual and at the team levels,” said Dexter coach Trish Machemer after the team’s only loss of the season.
Skyline earned a trip to the state finals after a 3-1 win over University Liggett. Jessica Courtright scored twice and sister Lauren Courtright had a goal to lead the Eagles.
Chelsea advanced with a 2-1 win over Cranbrook Kingswood. Grace Lane and Makayla Kegerreis scored for the Bulldogs.