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Chelsea Field Hockey Finishes Season With Tough Loss

On the first night of the MHSAA field hockey playoffs, Chelsea pulled a tough draw in the first round, as they were matched up against one of the highest-ranked teams in the state, the Saline Hornets. Saline had soundly defeated Chelsea earlier in the season and have high aspirations of a state championship. But Chelsea was looking to play the spoiler role this year in the playoffs and was not about to let anyone walk all over them.

The game went back and forth in the beginning with each team playing great defense.  Chelsea goalkeeper  Payton Doan was outstanding in net stopping everything shot her way. Her teammates helped her out making good clears and Gabbie Wink made an excellent player save. With less than 5 minutes to play in the first period, Saline’s Kaleigh Riggs was able to score on a penalty corner with a great shot from the circle.

Chelsea would fight and grind right down to the wire but was unable to capitalize. Riggs  goal was the only one scored and would send Saline to the second round of the playoffs and ended Chelsea’s season. Doan faced 14 shots making 13 great saves.

Chelsea will graduate 6 very skilled seniors who contributed a lot to the team in their time there. Chelsea will look to reload for next season with a very good group of players coming up and the players on this year’s team will return with much experience under their belt.


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Chelsea’s Lily Francisco, Diving is her life


Chelsea Swim & Dive Captain Lily Francisco gets prepared for a dive 

When you first meet Chelsea Senior Lily Francisco you notice her smile, her positive attitude, and happy go lucky personality. But when the captain of the Chelsea Swim and Dive team stands on that diving board she’s a whole different person as she focuses mentally at the task at hand. She gets in a zone and she’s good at what she does and she loves it.

Lily has been diving since before the summer of 6th grade. She had done gymnastics for about 10 years before that and was also cheerleading. But there was just something that drew her to diving and she has never looked back.

“I wanted to try something new, something I could always learn and improve on,” said Lily reflecting on her decision to commit to diving. “I wanted a sport with new things I could always try and a sport I could never get bored with.”

Lily is always practicing, trying new things. And she enjoys what she does and has fun with it. She knows it’s a very tough sport and can be scary in many different ways standing on that board not knowing what could happen next.

“It can be terrifying up there,” explained Lily. “It can be very nerve-wracking. Some people don’t understand but other divers do. You have to be a little crazy to do this sport. But every time you get the new dive it’s like a giant weight lifted off your chest and it’s amazing!”

When Lily gets a bit nervous or fearful of a dive or when she notices someone feeling that way she has a little thing she came up with to help herself and others. She dances.

“For the past two years I’ve been telling the divers to “dance it off”, it’s my little thing,” explained Lily. “It’s like if you’re freaking out over a dive, you need a little distraction so you can get it out of your head. And dancing seems to help. All you need to do is dance. It doesn’t have to be pretty dancing, you could look like a total fool but it actually works. You dance until you’re ready and then you just go!”

With the choice of her sport though comes injuries and hardships and she knows it but works through it. In 2015 Lily had a bad bout of tendinitis in her knee but once she was feeling better she got right back on the board as soon as she could.

Lily likes to look back on her diving career and see how far she’s come. She knows that if she hadn’t challenged herself and conquered her fears she wouldn’t be the diver she is today. And all her hard work and dedication has paid off. In 2015 she went to the state finals which she states is her biggest accomplishment.

“It was an amazing experience being able to stand on the podium even though it was for 14th place,” Lily explained about going to the second day of states. “I was just so proud of everyone around me because we all have put in so much effort to get where we were and that makes me so happy. Plus I had made friends with many of the amazing divers and I was so happy for them because they truly deserved to be top in the state.”

Diving must be in the Francisco bloodline as her inspiration and the person she calls her biggest influence and role model, her older sister Wilhelmina, is also a diver. She now dives in college and Lily hopes to join her next year.

“I am so proud of my older sister Wilhelmina,” Lily happily states. “She has accomplished so much and has gone so far in diving. She pushes me to become a better diver and I am lucky to call her my sister!”

Lily does really well in school because she realizes as a student-athlete scholastics are a big part of her future. She is taking a health science (nursing) class and since this is her second year doing it, she gets to do an internship at a doctor’s office.

“I’m extremely lucky to have a program like this and to have been part of such a great community,” Lily states. “Plus to have amazing teachers is the best thing I could have ever.”

On Thursday night, the 20th, Lily will be honored along with the other seniors on the swim and dive team before their 6 o’clock meet against Tecumseh.  Taylor Brodbeck (captain), Katy Dickinson (captain), Clara Nelsen, and Molly Olk will all receive their recognition as seniors and all they have accomplished in their prestigious careers.

“I’m so proud of all my teammates and my team,” Lily said. “They all mean so much to me and the team is just going to keep getting better. We have such a great coaching staff, all the coaches I’ve had have been amazing. They push me to be a better person and a better diver. Coach Burris and Coach Kristy are both phenomenal coaches and I wouldn’t be to the level that I am today without them.”

Lily has a lot of support with her team and friends but also from her family too. Todd Francisco (dad), sister Wilhemina, Marie Vollmer (mom), Ron Vollmer (Stepdad), and her biggest yet tiniest fans, her twin sisters  Els & Delanie Vollmer. Her twin sisters look up to Lily and love watching her and will cheer for her.

Lily hopes to go states again this year. She hopes to dive at Saginaw Valley State University next year and attend school for a nursing degree. In the springtime, Lily will be out on the track competing and excelling in the throwing competitions for Chelsea Track and Field. She will  also be practicing her dives and trying to learn new ones in her free time.

“I don’t like taking breaks from this sport,” sad Lily. “Seriously, diving is my life!”





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Chelsea Field Hockey Ends Regular Season, Honors Seniors


Kyle Bragg tries to get past a Dexter defender

The Chelsea Field Hockey team finished off their regular season for 2016 with a couple close losses. On Wednesday they traveled to undefeated and top-ranked Dexter to face the Dreadnaughts on their senior night, and as soon as the game got underway, the Heavens exploded  with a cold, hard rain drenching both teams almost instantly. Both teams struggled on the soggy, slippery field as it was hard to find their grip. At one point in the game, it was so wet that Chelsea’s  Gabbie Noble’s stick slipped out of her hands and flew about 15 yards downfield to her left. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Dexter was able to take advantage of their home field advantage though and keep their unbeaten streak alive as they defeated the Bulldogs 5-0.

On Friday Chelsea played host to Ann Arbor Pioneer in their last regular season game. Chelsea honored their 6 seniors before the game. Madalyn Allen, Kathryn Beauchamp, Jackie Busch, Shaunna Caffrey, Taylor Freyre, and Gabbie Noble all were honored for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the game and team before the game. Each girl was given a handcrafted blanket designed just for them individually.

The Senior-laden and experienced Pioneer team were able to capitalize in the first half with two goals scored and added another in the second half as the 1 loss team edged Chelsea 3-0.

As the season ends on Tuesday, the 18th, Chelsea will have to wait to see who their competition will be in the first round of the playoffs.

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Chelsea Claims SEC White with big victory over Ypsilanti 42-18



Cam Cooper defends himself on a big run. Cooper had 100 yards on the ground and 69 yards through the air for the Bulldogs. 


Chelsea gave their fans a big gift at their homecoming as they finished undefeated in the SEC White Division for the first time since 2012.

The Bulldogs beat a tough Ypsilanti team 42-18 in front of a packed house of Chelsea fans.

The Grizzlies gave the Bulldogs quite a fight as both teams struggled early on to move the ball. But with just a little over 2 minutes left in the first quarter, Jack Bush scrambled while receiver Cam Cooper was able to break free all alone in the right side of the end zone to catch Bush’s perfect pass for the first score of the game.

Ypsilanti came back and drove down the field in 13 plays covering 96 yards and scored on a Garvin Grout 29-yard pass to Jalen Allen but the kick by Carlos Gomez was wide left.

On the ensuing kickoff, it was Cooper shedding defenders and making great moves as he showed off his speed and jetted in for a big 85-yard touchdown by the Bulldogs.

With time running out in the first half, the Grizzlies were able to capitalize and punch it in, but on the 2-point conversion, the pass was broken up, giving the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead at the half.

“I thought Ypsilanti outplayed us in the first half,” Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush said. “We haven’t been in a close game at halftime since the River Rouge game, so I was happy with how our kids responded in the second half.”

After a great performance from the Pride of Chelsea band and an extended halftime where the fans got to see Ellie Doman crowned homecoming queen, the teams again took the field. Chelsea had deferred after winning the coin toss so they received.

After a very poor kickoff set the Bulldogs up at midfield, Bush dropped back and hit a flying Cooper down the right side of the field where he pulled in the well thrown ball and sprinted into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.

With only 15 seconds gone in the half the Bulldogs had distanced their lead.

After another defensive stop, the Bulldogs drove down the field  mixing up the run and pass before Gus Reynolds fought to get in the end zone on the left side of the field behind  his blockers finishing the 8-play drive with a 3 yard score.

But the Grizzlies may have been down but not out as Grout connected with Christopher Willis for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Again, the lack of a good kicking game hurt as they tried to convert on the two point conversion and failed.

It was all Bulldogs after that as Reynolds would score his second rushing touchdown of the night and 12th of the year from 5 yards out.

After a half hour delay due to lightning, Bush finished the Bulldog scoring for the night on a pass to Bryce Jubenville, who made an excellent diving catch in the right endzone for his first touchdown of the season and first varsity touchdown of his career.

Jared Hansen would cap off the night by picking off the Grizzlies Grout with his first interception as a varsity player.

“I was just surprised,” said an excited, smiling Hansen. “I played the coverage right and I saw it right there and as I jumped in front of him (Grizzly receiver) I kind of bobbled it and thought I was going to drop it. But I held on and took off running.”

Bush would finish on the night with 142 yards passing and 3-touchdown passes. Cooper had his first 100 yard rushing night of the season on only 7 carries and led receivers with 69 yards on 4 catches.

“I thought Bush and Cooper played well tonight,” Bush said. “Ypsilanti likes to load the box so we threw it a lot, and I thought we did it pretty well.”

The Chelsea defense once again stepped up big as they held the Grizzlies to only 4 yards rushing the entire game and forcing 3 turnovers. Travis Frazier and Drew Anstead had a sack each while Hansen, Thomas Steele, and Patrick Bertoni each had an interception. It was Bertoni’s 4th pick of the season. Chris Roush led the defense with 8 total tackles while Bertoni had 7.

The 7-0 Bulldogs travel next Friday to Monroe for a 7 p.m.

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Pinckney Field Hockey Edged In Downpour


In a battle of two field hockey teams in their inaugural seasons, it was Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard  defeating Pinckney in a very tough 3-1 game. In Pinckney, it was a very beautiful, warm fall evening until with about 3 minutes left in the first half the sky exploded with torrential rains. Both teams played through it though until the very end.

The Pirates put a lot of pressure on the Irish netminder early through the first half, and they struck first in the game when Molly Miller took a deflection and passed it out to Nicole Burcon who buried the ball to the right in the Irish goal. It was the Pinckney Field Hockey teams only second goal of its young existence.

The Pirates had several penalty corners in their advantage in the first half and were able to get many shots on goal. First half Pirate goalie Sam Smith stopped everything the Irish threw at her.

After halftime though, it was all Irish. They struck fast scoring on the first shot of the second half. In spite of the drenching rainstorms, both teams battled on and the Pirates put much pressure on the Irish but couldn’t get another score. The Irish would score twice more to seal the victory for them. The Pirates are still looking for their first victory as a team but it’s a very young team and is coming along very fine.

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