Skyline and Pioneer played to a 1-1 draw on Monday at Skyline High School on Senior Night for the Eagles and the final SEC regular-season game for both schools.
“I think it lived up to the hype,” said Pioneer Coach Jon Sundermann. “We know what to expect when we play Skyline as they’ve been the team to beat for a few years. I think we proved we can play with arguably the best team in the state.”
The two teams could very likely meet again in a District semifinal game at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Dexter High School.
The game began with Pioneer possessing the ball and they were certainly the aggressor in the beginning of the match. The visitors took their first shot on goal less than 3 minutes into the game and forced a corner about a minute later.
Pioneer held the advantage in possession for the first 15 minutes, earning another shot on goal by Benjamin Matton and an ensuing corner. After that, though, Skyline seemed to find its stride and pick up the pace.
For the remainder of the first half, the Eagles looked like the superior team.
Although they weren’t able to score, Skyline started to create more opportunities on offense. Bryce Schaner had a pretty good look with 20:19 left in the half but he wasn’t able to convert. A few minutes later, Schaner took a free kick from 40 yards out but it sailed wide left. In the final 5 minutes of the half, Skyline created two more shots and corners to follow.
The teams headed to halftime scoreless.
Skyline’s momentum carried into the second half as they were the first team to score when Mario Sims found the back of the net with 31 minutes left in the match.
Because of the goal, Pioneer’s urgency kicked up a notch and they earned two corners and two shots on goal in a 10-minute span. The Pioneers would finally find the equalizer when Daniel McDonough tied the game at one apiece.
“Mario made something out of nothing,” said Skyline head coach Chris Morgan. “It was a sexy hit. It’s crazy. We had gotten the ball close in the first half but the keeper had made some great saves. We missed some point-blank shots and then we make this one, but we’ll take what we can get.”
Morgan said the goal the Eagles allowed was a mistake.
“Their goal, we made a mistake, we stabbed,” he said. “I couldn’t see his service, it was just a mass of people. We need to do better inside the six.”
The Eagles had a few chances in the final 4 minutes of the game to get the lead back but it wasn’t meant to be. Sims just barely missed what would have been his second goal of the day and a put-back opportunity sailed over the crossbar.
Skyline finished with seven shots on goal, two corners taken, and one goal scored. Meanwhile, Pioneer had six shots on goal, six corners, and one goal scored.
Skyline is now 10-1-5 on the season with their only SEC loss to Saline (2-1). The Eagles will prepare for the first round of Districts where they’ll meet the Huron River Rats. The game will be played on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. at Huron High School.
Pioneer (12-1-5) will play Ypsilanti at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in a District opener at Pioneer.