Young boys soccer team gains experience
When Salisbury graduated its top three goal scorers from last year and saw 72 goals leave along with them, head coach Mark Allinson expected some struggles in the scoring department this season. But maybe not as much as the Falcons have experienced thus far.
Northwestern shut out Salisbury on its home field last week with a 3-0 victory, a game in which the Falcons generated just two shots on goal.
The loss started a string of three straight losses for the Falcons. Nonleague losses to Nazareth (2-0) and Allen (4-0) have pushed Salisbury’s scoring drought to zero goals in its last 240 minutes of game time.
“We’re going to play with what we’re dealt with,” Allinson said. “These are the guys, and believe me we are going to get them squared away. They are young. At times we are starting three freshmen and two sophomores. It’s a learning curve, especially when you play an experienced team like this.”
In their 11 games this year, the Falcons (3-8 overall, 2-4 in Colonial League) have scored just 13 goals. Allinson expects his young squad to find its groove in the second half of the season.
“The strength of our schedule is coming up,” Allinson said. “I’m hoping that when we get on the same page and our injuries are healed, that we will fare better than up to this point. There still is a lot of season left, and this is a new team that will need to make some adjustments to their play.
“Our freshmen and sophomores are gaining some experience so that will help down the road.”
Salisbury’s defense kept the Tigers (11-0 overall; 7-0 in Colonial League) off the scoreboard in the first half, due in large part to three early saves from freshman goalie Baxter Reihman. But Northwestern made a few adjustments during the break, resulting in a goal in the opening three minutes.
Jeff Garcia broke the scoreless game 2:16 into the second half, ripping a strike by a diving Reihman on the left side of Salisbury’s goal. Not even two minutes later, Northwestern pushed it to 2-0 on Connor Winter’s header into the back of the net.
“We are still making some poor decisions on the ball and off,” Allinson said. “These decisions and technical abilities need to be cleaned up because we are going to be facing greater pressure in the upcoming weeks.”
Reihman, who finished with seven saves in net, added 14 more against Allen and recorded 18 versus Nazareth, has been impressive to say the least. He comes from a tall family and genetics are clearly on his side. His brother, Mahlon Reihman, is a state champion swimmer for the Falcons and now at Harvard University. He reached 6-7 in high school during his senior season, while Baxter is near 6-1 as a ninth-grader.
“He’s highly athletic,” Allinson said. “He’s actually a hockey player and a soccer player. He’s only going to get bigger.”
Yazid Darawsheh leads the team with three goals, while Kia Moghadassi and Denis Fernandes each have scored two.