Chelsea Women’ water polo moves to Regionals for the first time

Photo from Chelsea Water Polo Twitter

For the first time in school history, the Chelsea Girls’ water polo team moved to the regional round of the state tournament after finishing fourth in the East District of Ann Arbor Huron this weekend.

The Bulldogs opened the quarterfinal game by beating Ann Arbor Pioneer 7-6 in triple overtime with sudden death.

The goal by Dakota Drew and Bella Turner tied the game after a two o’clock break.

Turner would score two more goals in the second round as Chelsea took a 4-2 lead in the half.

Two more goals for Turner in the third and three goals for Pioneer added to the 6-5 Bulldogs after three scored a thrilling finish.

Pioneer scored once in the closing stages to end the game 6-6 and send it into overtime.

Neither team failed to score in the first two hours of overtime, so the score was 6-6 on the way to the third OT with sudden death.

Pioneer was asked to dismiss, giving the Bulldogs a 6-5 advantage. Kiera Crawley lifted a pass to Jessica Neff, who shot a shot over the Pioneer goalkeeper’s outstretched arm for the game-winner to send the Bulldogs to the district’s semi-finals for the first time in school history.

Turner led the Bulldogs by five goals while Neff scored the game winner and assisted on two goals. Drew added one goal for the Bulldogs while Mya Spadafore scored eight saves on the net for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs fought in their semi-final game against the fifth Ann Arbor Huron, who fell 16-0 against the River Rats.

Huron’s pressure drove 23 sales to Chelsea and the Bulldogs only managed 11 shots on goal in the game.

Spadafore made seven saves on the net while Fiona Stoker made two.

The Bulldogs then fell to Saline 21-5 in the game for third place.

Chelsea, Paddock, Neff and Turner scored goals in the first half when Saline took a 10-3 lead at half time. The Hornets opened the game with eight goals in the third half and took the lead 18: 4.

Turner finished with three goals and one assist to lead Chelsea. Emma Zachrich and Hannah Harmes each made two assists for the Bulldogs, while Spadafore scored five saves online.

Chelsea advance to the regional round and meet Birmingham Seaholm in the opener on Thursday evening.

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