Water Polo: Huron edges Pioneer in state-ranked battle

The seventh-ranked Ann Arbor Huron River Rats rocked the Ratatorium Tuesday night, taking a 2-0 District record with a convincing 7-5 win over crosstown rival and fourth-ranked Ann Arbor Pioneer.
The Rats are now 5-2 on the season, and have a heavy slate of games coming up. This game, their first in a few weeks, served as an excellent opportunity to knock the rust off and refresh their season.
Looking a bit tentative as the geared up to play, the Rats nevertheless managed to tally the first score of the game, a zinger from Elaina Baker (two goals) at the 4 minute mark of the first quarter. This was all the offense the Rats had for the quarter, as a series of miscommunications and solid defense by the Pioneers stymied any further scoring opportunities.
The Pioneers, however, managed two goals; one a beauty of an outside shot by Starosta (two goals) as she slipped past a dropping Rat. Stud senior Coury also tallied one, this time quickly receiving a right-back after drawing a kickout against Emily Marsh (one goal).
Down 2-1, the Rats surrendered another to Starosta and looked to be a bit befuddled as a coaching error left seven players in the water off of a timeout. However, an absolute beauty of a lob shot out of set by Clyde (two goals) quickly got the Rats focus back, and Marsh provided another surge of excitement with a nifty 8-meter upper-corner skip shot that blew past the Pioneer goalie.
The score was now knotted up 3-3 – anyone’s game, and the Rats came out of the half hungry.
Clyde again delivered out of set a little more than 2 minutes into the half, and Frazier backed her up with a center shot of her own as the Rats slowly ground down the Pioneers with smart drop defense and timely counter attacks.
Not letting up the pressure, Gardner lofted a parabolic lob shot from the 1-2 side after being unwisely dropped off of that landed beyond the outstretched arms of the Pioneer goalie. Not to be outdone, Baker slipped in front of her defender and waited out the goalie as she pumped and placed her second goal of the night upper corner.
Marybeth Melcher notched a goal with 25 seconds left, and Coury managed a 10 meter goal of her own with 1 second remaining, beyond the outstretched arms of DenHouter, who had an otherwise phenomenal game with 11 blocks and a couple feisty steals, to draw the game within two, but it proved to be in vain.

 

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