At the MWPA state championships on Saturday evening, the Saline Hornets played the Okemos Chiefs in the consolation game to determine the 3rd and 4th place teams at the championships. The Hornets had pulled out a thrilling sudden death overtime win over the Chiefs two weeks earlier in the East Region championship game, and knew that the Chiefs would be looking to avenge that loss. Before the game, the Hornets learned that goalkeeper Katie Wagner would not dress for the game as she was still feeling the effects of hard shot taken during the Hudsonville game that morning.
Senior sprinter Lisa Gross donned the red goalkeeper’s cap, Wagner gave Gross all the instructions she could during warmups and, undaunted by this unforeseen turn of events, the Hornets got off to a great start. Lauryn Kruse took over Gross’ role as sprinter and won the first sprint . The Hornets rallied early to take a 2-0 lead. Jen Green, who had been stellar all year at the 4/5 spot, hit Gillian Cain at the 2 and Cain fired a shot that went over the goalkeeper’s left hand and hit the back corner of the net for the only goal of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, on the man advantage, Sam Fitch’s pass found Maddy Murphy at the 5 position and Murphy fired a shot that beat the Okemos goalkeeper’s outstretched right arm, taking Saline up 2-0. But Okemos scored the next three goals and took a 3-2 lead into the half.
Great defense by the Hornets and key saves by Gross kept the score close. Jen Green scored the only goal of the third quarter during a 6 on 5 with a strong shot from the 3-post.
Okemos took a 4-3 lead early in the 4th quarter, but the Hornets struck right back. At 5:49, Green hit Murphy with a pass into set; Murphy leaned back and fired into the far corner to tie the score at 4-4. The next three goals however were scored by Okemos. With two and a half minutes left in the game, Eleanor Smith’s aggressive play on the Chiefs’ goal line resulted in a kickout being called on the Chiefs’ goalkeeper. Cassie Anderson took the 5-meter penalty shot and scored her first goal of the game, narrowing the Chiefs’ lead to 7-5. But 30 seconds later, the Chiefs scored again to regain their three-goal advantage. Jen Green scored late in the quarter but the Hornets were not able to pull off another miracle victory.
Gillian Cain had six steals in the game. Annika Olsen had three, Sam Fitch had two and Jen Green, Lauryn Kruse, Eleanor Smith and Maddy Murphy had one each.
The Hornets finished the season fourth in the State with a record of 26 -5.
Cassie Anderson and Maddy Murphy were named First Team All-State for the season. Sam Fitch earned an Honorable Mention.
Two Hornets also earned State Championship All-Tournament Team honors. Cassie Anderson was named to the First Team,. Maddy Murphy placed on the Second Team.