chelsea, field hockey

Chelsea Defeats Skyline, Headed To State Championship

Chelsea Defeats Skyline, Headed To State Championship

Chelsea celebrates their victory as they advance to the State Championship
By Al Wright

The French Diplomat  Talleyrand is credited with the proverb “revenge is a dish best served cold”. And at the semi finals game at Hollway Field in Ann Arbor Thursday night, it was indeed cold. With  twenty mile per hour gust of wind coming from the west  it dropped the temperature down to just above freezing at gametime as the Chelsea Field Hockey Team looked to exact their vengeance against Ann Arbor Skyline, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in last years semi finals.

Chelsea was coming into the game off a hard fought 1-0 victory over Novi while Skyline was coming in off a 3-2 overtime victory over Ann Arbor Huron. Ann Arbor Pioneer had defeated Dexter 2-0 in the earlier semi final  game and were anxiously waiting to see who the finals opponent would be.

Skyline won the coin toss and started with the ball first and came out strong. But the defense of Chelsea, which allowed them to get this far, stepped up right away. Both teams were playing strong defense and was trying their hardest to force the other into that big goal allowing mistake. And it would be Skyline that blinked first at about the 12 minute mark as Senior Captain Maggie Cole got the ball low to Junior Madalyn Allen who knocked it in to the Skyline goal to the goalies left side to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead and the all too important first goal.

Skyline took the ball after the goal but it was Chelsea who controlled the flow mainly in the Eagle’s zone. When the Eagle’s did get pressure they were met with that stonewall defense of Chelsea. The game was pretty equal at the half in shots and penalty corners, with Chelsea having 3 and Skyline having 1. The main difference was the lone goal.

In the second half things started to get chippy. The Eagles knew they had to get back in the game and were playing hard as nails to score. But with Cole off the field serving time for a yellow card they still couldn’t break the speedy, intense defense of Chelsea. It was Cole’s only yellow card of the season and only the disciplined team’s second of the season. But the Eagles big break finally came after they had several penalty corner advantages in a row when Senior Captain Jillian Beemon moved the ball into play off the corner and Junior Captain Abbey Hutton blasted a big unstoppable shot into the Chelsea net to tie up the score at  the 21:53 mark.

Chelsea took the ball after the goal and it was Cole doing what she has done her entire career, juking past two Eagles and splitting past several more defenders to bury the ball in the Eagles net to put Chelsea back up in the lead, just 14 seconds after Skyline tied it up!

The hard play went back and forth as Skyline put it all on the table to try to force overtime in back to back games but Chelsea Freshman goaltender Payton Doan stood confident and tall  in net and challenged every shot, while being helped out and backed up by Seniors Kelly Bertoni and Gabbie Wink. Skyline never let up and played hard until the final seconds ticked off the clock but the formidable defense of Chelsea held on to put the team in the Division 1 State Championship for the first time ever.

Skyline left the field down but not out as they know they played a great game and have only 3 seniors graduating from the team. Next year’s Nicky Barrett coached team has a lot of positive things to build on for the future, as they return many sophomores and juniors.

The Chelsea girls celebrated their historic moment with laughter, tears, and plenty of smiles. But they know that there is another game and they are focused on completing their mission, their goal of a championship dream season which will try to be accomplished against last years state champions Pioneer at Ann Arbor Skyline High School on Saturday, Halloween, at 2:30 P.M. Chelsea split the season series with Pioneer this year. The Division 2 championship game between Detroit Country Day and Saline will take place beforehand at noon.

Chelsea puts pressure on Skyline(Al Wright)

Senior Gabbie Wink moves the ball upfield(Al Wright)

The team celebrates their victory(Al Wright)

Chelsea’s goalie Payton Doan makes a big save(Al Wright)
field hockey, sports

Chelsea Field Hockey Quarterfinals 1-0 victory over Novi

field hockey, sports

Chelsea field hockey defense strong against Novi, head to Semifinals

Chelsea defense strong against Novi, head to Semifinals

The Chelsea defense was strong as it has been all year
By Al Wright
on October 28, 2015 1:04 PM

It was a cold fifty degree fall night with a crisp wind blowing over Jerry Niehaus Field as the Chelsea Field Hockey team warmed up before their quarterfinal playoff game against the visiting Novi Wildcats. Music was playing over the loudspeakers and although Chelsea had not played in almost two weeks, they looked loose, relaxed, and ready to go. Novi, on the other hand, was coming in after a hard fought 2-0 victory over Grosse Pointe South four days earler, while Chelsea had the first round bye.

“The team is relaxed, they’re ready,” said Head Coach Leslie Fry before the game. “They’re very focused and we are feeling very good.” The team was laughing and joking with each other and even dancing a little bit before the game. But they knew there was a task at hand to be done. And they were ready.

For not playing for a while and in spite of the bitter chill, the rust was shaken off early. Chelsea came out strong with a solid defense, the defense that allowed them to win the Division 1 Regular Season Championship. Novi could get the ball deep but as soon as they did there was a Chelsea defender to take it away. The passing lanes were being taken away and Chelsea was not allowing any outside execution by the Wildcats. When Novi did get a shot on net, goaltender Payton Doan was there to challenge and stop every shot she faced. Although a freshman in her first year as starting goalie, Doan played with confidence of a very seasoned playoff veteran.

The Wildcats knew in this one and done matchup that they too had to play a tough defense knowing that the scoring capability of Chelsea isn’t limited to just one person. A big part of their strategy was to try to take Senior Captain Maggie Cole out of the  game by double teaming her most of the game. But at about the 20 minute minute mark of the first half it was Cole, surrounded by several Wildcat defenders, taking a pass from the speedster Jessi Olmsted and burying the shot into the Wildcats goal for a 1-0 Chelsea lead.

Novi turned up the pressure as time wound down in the game but the Chelsea defense would not allow itself to be conquered as Senior Gabbi Wink helped control the flow of the game as the final seconds ticked off the clock. The solo Cole goal would turn out to be the difference in the game as both teams defenses played very strong. Chelsea was victorious as the team recorded it’s 10th shutout game of the season.

Chelsea will advance to the semifinals where they will face a very determined Ann Arbor Skyline team who had defeated Ann Arbor Huron in overtime earlier in the night, 3-2. The game will be at Ann Arbor Pioneer Stadium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, the 29th.

Maggie Cole double teamed by the Novi Wildcats(Al Wright)

Chelsea’s defense was relentless as it has been all year(Al Wright)