Salisbury girls complete successful summer season
Salisbury’s historic girls soccer season last fall began with a successful summer in 2016 when the Lady Falcons won the Lehigh Valley Summer Soccer League. Fast-forward a year and the Lady Falcons found themselves in that very same title game.
And while Salisbury came up a goal short of repeating as champions, the future looks just as bright as a year ago.
The Lady Falcons went a perfect 7-0 in the regular season, and then outscored its first three playoff opponents 11-0 to set up another championship game appearance. But that is where Central Catholic used a late second-half goal to outlast Salisbury, 1-0, last Wednesday for the title at Lehigh University.
“Coming into the game we knew it would be challenging because we played them not long before the final and it was one of our toughest games,” said rising senior Kelly Gardus. “We won only by one goal, which was something different to us since we’ve been beating teams by a high goal differential. I think we played well but it definitely wasn’t one of our best games.”
The two teams remained scoreless for the entire first half, and it wasn’t until a corner kick found the back of the net that Central Catholic was able to take the lead in the second half. But Salisbury, which had a number of chances on goal, did not let up.
“It was hard for us because we knew it was getting late in the game, so it got us anxious and we knew we had to score,” Gardus said. “We weren’t dropping our heads though because we knew the game was capable of changing at any moment.”
But for a team that scored 25 goals in the regular season, and then mowed through the postseason’s first three games, it couldn’t find the equalizer.
Prior to that Central Catholic loss, Salisbury’s only defeat of the summer, the Lady Falcons dominated a Pen Argyl team in the first round of the playoffs with a 7-0 win. Then, Salisbury defeated both Lady Hornets2 (2-0) in the quarterfinals and Palisades (2-0) in the semifinals.
The talent is undeniable, as plenty of returning starters will be back from last year’s team that made a run to states. But Gardus pointed out the Lady Falcons’ chemistry on the field as one of the biggest keys to their success.
“It seems like such a small part, but having chemistry on a team is very important,” Gardus said. “That is why I think we were successful last season and why I think we will be this coming season. We work very well together and all get along. And when you combine that with that talent we have, it’s a powerful combination.”
Practices are just days away for fall sports teams around the Lehigh Valley. Salisbury is hoping that once that first day hits, the momentum it gained in June and July carries over into September.
“Our great season last fall started in the summer,” Gardus said. “So I think having another outstanding summer season is really going to set the bar for how well we do in the fall.”