on November 05, 2015 5:31 PM
It was a very monumental year for the Chelsea Field Hockey team this season. They beat last years state champions Ann Arbor Pioneer for the first time ever, they won the regular season championship outright, and they were now in the Division 1 State Championship for the very first time where they would be facing Pioneer again. The teams had split the season series. And now they would face off in Ann Arbor Skyline stadium to see who would be victorious as the D1 champions of 2015.
The crowd trickled in on a grey smokey skied Saturday afternoon. A brisk chilling wind blew over the field as people were arriving bundled up with a big representation of Bulldog blue and gold huddled together with blankets, thermoses, and signs to cheer on their beloved team. A light mist was in the air and a frigid light rain began to fall. But that didn’t deter the multitudes from showing up nor did it seem to affect the team who were pumped and ready to go.
As the ball left the first Pioneer players stick it was Chelsea and their staunch defense jumping all over it as they have all season long. They were giving no room, allowing no separation, and were forcing turnovers but it seemed every time Chelsea drove into the Pioneer zone the whistle of the referee would blow and give the ball to Pioneer. Time after time this kept happening early on in the game. Pioneer was awarded 7 penalty corners alone in the first half against the most disciplined team in the regular season. Try as they might though Pioneer couldn’t get the ball past the defense or Freshman goaltender Payton Doan who made several huge saves in the first half, many back to back off the corners. After an intense 30 minutes of hard play and tough defensive battle between the two teams the game remained scoreless.
In the second half Chelsea picked up the offense right away and started getting a few chances but they just couldn’t capitalize. After many more Pioneer corner advantages, Chelsea finally got their first corner at the 19 minute mark. But a bad hop and an unlucky bounce gave Pioneer the ball and on an odd man rush, Pioneer’s Mack Stoy was able to barely get a shot off and the ball deflected in past Doan for the first goal of the game.
Chelsea regrouped right away and turned up the pressure even more but just couldn’t gain the advantage. Things got real chippy as time ticked away as Pioneer ended up drawing two yellow cards as bodies were being flung to the ground. But the Bulldogs would bounce back up and with their never say die attitude continued to grind it out. In the final minute and a half Chelsea was awarded two more corners but even with some excellent stick handling from Maggie Cole, and slick passes from Jessi Olmsted, the Bulldogs jut couldn’t get the breaks they needed to score. As the clock’s final tickets ran off the clock Pioneer’s team swarmed the field in jubilation as they won back to back championships, and their 16th overall state title.
Although dejected in their loss Chelsea and their fans held their heads high with class knowing they played a great game and gave their best. It was a huge accomplishment for them to be in the championship game and in the future they will get another opportunity.