Pioneer hasn’t forgotten last year’s loss in the field hockey state finals and had a goal of returning for another shot. Dexter, meanwhile, is one game away from an undefeated defense of its first Division 1 state title in school history.
The two will meet again as Pioneer and Dexter advanced to Saturday’s state championship game with wins Thursday night in the semifinals. The D-1 State Finals will begin at 2 p.m. at Al Ritt Stadium in Dexter.
“Pioneer is full of talented, skilled athletic players and is well coached,” says Dexter Coach Keely Tamer. “Add this to the tradition of excellence and success the program is fueled by, it makes a game with Pioneer always a challenge.”
Dexter returns to the championship game following an unbeaten regular season and two easy wins in the playoffs, including Thursday’s 5-1 win over visiting Saline. The Dreadnaughts led 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 at halftime.
“I was happy with several elements of our game with Saline and hope we can build on the play for the finals,” Tamer said.
Abby Tamer had a huge night for the home team. The senior had two goals and two assists. She had a team-high seven shots on goal.
Kylee Niswonger, another key senior on the club, also scored twice. Annalisa Shehab had a goal in the win. Shannon Schoch had two assists. Hannah Baldwin went the distance, allowing just one goal for Dexter.
While the Dreadnaughts were cruising, the Pioneers had their hands full with talented and experienced Skyline, the defending Division 2 state champions. Pioneer won 2-1 in a game played at Novi HS.
Pioneer and Dexter played just once during the regular season. The Dreadnaughts won 2-1 on Oct. 1. Pioneer was the first team to score a goal on Dexter after seven straight shutouts.