Water Polo: River Rats knock off top-ranked Saline

The rankings are going to have be re-ranked. The Huron River Rats saw to that on Monday night.

Huron came in ranked seventh in the state facing No. 1 ranked Saline in the second of a home-and-home matchup at the Ratatorium. The Hornets escaped a comeback attempt in the first meeting last Wednesday but the River Rats controlled much of Monday’s game and knocked off Saline 7-3.

The win snapped Saline’s 17-game winning streak.

Saline’s stud junior Cassie Anderson opened the scoring, her first of two on the night, powering one in from up top with 2:59 left to play in the first. Both teams traded possessions, feeling each other out, and goalies Katie Wagner (Saline) and Claire DenHouter (Huron) registered multiple saves to keep the game tight.

But the second quarter was another story altogether.

Less than a minute in, junior Kristen Clyde launched a parabolic lob that beat Wagner far side, her first of three for the game to tie it 1-1. Hitting on their very next possession to bring the Hornets up 2-1, Anderson drew an ordinary foul on Emily Marsh at 5m and rifled one in.

Marsh then struck back for the Rats with 4 minutes remaining in the second, her first of three, to equalize it again at 2-2.

Hitting a rhythm, Clyde then struck again, and the game was on – netting another perfect lob with 3:30 to play to make it 3-2.

Working out of set this time, Marsh buried one a minute later and the Hornets were forced to call their first time out, trailing 4-2. While the pause put a halt to the quick Huron run of four goals in 4 minutes, it didn’t stop Hannah Frazier from nailing the Rats fifth goal of the half off a 5m ordinary as time expired.

The scoring eruption of the second half turned out to be an aberration as both coaches made their respective halftime adjustments. Neither team could manage much of anything, as DenHouter turned away shot after shot and the Hornets swarmed on defense, until Maddy Murphy made the Rats pay for a slow drop on set out of an isolation play drawn up during the Hornets second timeout, bringing them back to 5-3.

Not to be outdone, Clyde nailed another shifty lob with seconds remaining in the third to bring the margin back to three at 6-3.

The fourth saw Marsh score her third, this one another out of 5m, and a series of timeouts with no scores lead to DenHouter bleeding the clock with 20 seconds to play and the Rats leaving the pool with a victory to hang their hats on.

 

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