Donaldson puts name in record book
Rylee Donaldson’s sophomore soccer season was filled with injury as the speedy forward and midfielder missed half of the 2016 season with a broken arm.
There was also a bit of insult added to injury. After a remarkable freshman season, Donaldson couldn’t help but look into the future and think of where she could possibly wind up in the Salisbury record books. That is, up until that injury sidelined her for 11 games two years ago.
“I distinctly remember a moment when coach [Rick Babyak] came up to me in my sophomore year,” Donaldson said. “He was kind of showing everyone the numbers and where they lied on the all-time leading charts. Just for fun.
“This was when I had my broken arm and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I could have been up there and possibly have broken these records by the end of my senior year. But now with my broken arm there is no way.’”
Donaldson underestimated what she could accomplish in her final two seasons. Last Friday night, the senior set two more records to etch her name in Salisbury’s record books.
She set the career goals (66) record and career assists (49) record in an 8-0 win over Wilson on senior night.
Donaldson also set the all-time points records in Salisbury history over two weeks ago when she passed a record that was set back in 1999. Donaldson passed Tabitha Penuel’s record of 157 career points with two goals and an assist back on Sept. 14 in a 5-3 win over Notre Dame (Green Pond).
“Before the season it was kind of on my mind,” Donaldson said. “It was on my mind, but not as much as having a strong season and preparing the team for league play. It was really cool to be able to break those two on Friday night, especially with it being senior night.”
She also broke both the career goals and assists records with plenty of time to spare. The Falcons had six regular season games remaining on their schedule as of Sunday, including one on Monday in which Donaldson scored her 68th career goal.
The Falcons also qualified for the district tournament already.
Goal No. 67, the one that broke Mackenzie Groff’s old record, came early against Wilson in the first half.
“I was driving down the sideline and made a move inside, and then I got myself toward the right of the goal by the 18,” Donaldson said. “I almost did a parallel shot from the right side of the goal, and it hit the back of net. It was a great feeling.”
Donaldson was able to set up one of her best friends, senior teammate Erica Holben, to break the assist record that was set by former Falcon Caylin Meikrantz.
“We even kind of talked about it before the game and joked about it how cool it would be,” Donaldson said. “She is definitely one of the main reasons I was able to get the assists record…It’s been really special to have her along the way with me since I’ve been looking forward to these records.”
Her speed on the pitch is undeniable, and it accounts for plenty of her goals. But one thing that Donaldson wants to be remembered for was her ability to set up her teammates just as well as she can find the back of the net herself.
“I think the one I’m probably most proud of is the goals record,” Donaldson said. “But I think having both the goals and assists records is a really big thing for me because I want people to know that I am a well-rounded player.”
Judging by the record books, it looks like people will remember her both equally well.