Saline wins first state title with 4-0 victory over Grand Blanc in Division 1 final
East Lansing – Last season Saline was eliminated in the tournament by Northville, the eventual Division 1 state champion. This season Saline didn’t lose a game.
Facing Grand Blanc (18-5-5) in the state final, Saline scored two goals in the first nine minutes and went on to defeat the Bobcats, 4-0, in the Division 1 final on Saturday at Michigan State University.
Saline was playing in its first state final. Grand Blanc lost in the 2004 final in its only other final appearance.
Molly O’Sullivan got the Hornets on the board with a goal at the 7:19 mark and two minutes later, Allison Luurtsema scored to give Saline (22-0-3) a 2-0 lead.
“We really put a big emphasis on what the first 10 minutes were going to be (like),” Saline coach Dana Restrick said. “And in every big game both teams are going to have nerves and that’s a prime time that if you can come prepared and be ready to go, you can sometimes catch a team working themselves into the game. I don’t know if that’s what happened, but our first ten minutes were lights out and it puts us in a great position where we just have to just manage the game from then on.”
The lead stayed at two for seven minutes until Amanda Zylstra scored on a free kick cross from Taylor Mulder to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead.
Grand Blanc had seven scoring chances in the second half and five shots on net but the only goal of the half came from Mulder on a penalty kick at the 38:32 mark.
“Grand Blanc is a great team,” Restrick said. “They’re a great attacking team. They’ve got some very talented player; they work well off of one another. It’s something that we really tried to emulate in practice the last couple days and try to prepare them for and they’re very coachable and they work off of what the coaches give them and they put it into action beautifully and I think that’s what you saw today.”
Recording a shutout was hardly a surprise. Saline goalkeeper Sofia Sweier allowed only four goals all season.
” I wasn’t complacent with a one-goal lead. We need more and I think everyone else knew that, so we pushed forward,” Sweier said. “It feels amazing. I mean for me personally, it’s great because only four goals were allowed the whole time and just a stellar team just fighting through, first one in history, just fighting through getting here and winning it; it still hasn’t settled in yet.”