I heard an interesting comment from the student section before the girls’ field hockey state final at Saline High:


“Possession is nine-tenths of the game.” If that’s true, then it was the other tenth of the Pioneers’ game that beat the Eagles on Saturday.


On a cold and windy afternoon, the girls’ voices rang over the recording of the National Anthem: “Over the land of the free…” Unfortunately, that was the high note, literally, for Skyline. Moments after failing to execute on two corners, a breakdown on defense led to junior Clare Brush’s shot finding the back of the cage for Pioneer just three minutes and nine seconds into the game. Skyline recovered quickly, though, and matched Pioneer’s intensity for the next 27 minutes, going into the half trailing by just one goal.
Coming out of the half, the Eagles played with a passion. They dominated Pioneer in almost every respect, including possession, during the second half. But missed opportunities piled up. One pass too many on corners would lead to steals by Pioneer. Sophomore Tara Shetty and senior Kayla Harding both had multiple chances on fast breaks, but got no help from their teammates and got overtaken by the Pioneers’ defense. Skyline goalie Margeaux Fraleigh made a big save on a four-on-one with just under four minutes to play, keeping the Eagles in the game. But with the Pioneers committing everyone to defense, it was impossible for Skyline to get anywhere near the net. And so as the clock ticked down to zeros, it was the Pioneers rushing the field to celebrate their state title.