Boys soccer ends season, looks to bright future
With a relatively young team once again, Salisbury boys soccer head coach Mark Allinson expected another transition season in 2018.
And while the Falcons finished 4-12-1 overall and 4-8 in the Colonial League and missing out on a postseason berth for the second straight season, there were some positives to take away.
“We have had our ups and downs this past season,” Allinson said. “We are still very young physically and mentally and, in the present, it’s difficult playing against 17- and 18-year olds. But we do hope it will pay dividends in future seasons. We need to be more consistent over the entire game and not just pieces of it.”
Allinson saw glimpses of great soccer this fall, yet it was rarely put together for an entire 80-minute match. Much of that can be credited to Salisbury’s inexperience and youth across the lineup.
Still, the Falcons remained competitive in a good chunk of its games. Four of their eight league losses were by a single goal, including close defeats to Pen Argyl (2-1) and Palisades (1-0), both of which had winning records in the Colonial League.
“Speed of play and speed of thought was something that we knew would be an issue and we looked to improve those areas,” Allinson said. “Our depth was also an issue this year. We will also look to become bigger, stronger and faster this offseason.”
While scoring was a bit of a hindrance last season for the Falcons, Allinson believes this core took a step forward in that category in 2018. Leading scorer Andre Fernandez (10 goals, 2 assists) was the leader in that category and returns for Allinson next season. Nick Amado (4 goals, 2 assists) is also back as a nice option on the attack.
The Falcons will be without a number of key pieces next year though that includes: Prince Radande (4 goals, 1 assist), Sean Maehrer (2 goals), Angel DeAnda (1 assist), Patrick To, Brendan Miller, Josh Steckel and Diego Luna Rivera.
“We knew we had issues last year with finding a scoring balance,” Allinson said. “I think we did improve somewhat in that capacity this season and we certainly will need to look at that more going forward, as well as our defense.
“There were players that showed vast improvement from start to end. We try to get everyone on the same page and buy into what we are doing. Our younger players are showing more confidence on the field and the decision-making has improved.”
Plenty of players return for Allinson next fall, and that group is hoping to break this playoff drought for a Salisbury program that is accustomed to making the postseason.
One in particular is Baxter Reihman, who has impressed Allinson in goal in just his second season.
“Baxter Reihman is progressing by leaps and bounds,” Allinson said. “His athleticism and work ethic have kept us in games. We look to next season to get stingier in the back and take some pressure off of him.”
The Colonial League playoffs started this week with top-seeded Northwestern defeating Southern Lehigh (3-0) in one semifinal, and No. 3 Moravian Academy edging No. 2 Saucon Valley (3-2) in the other contest. Wednesday’s championship game between those two teams is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Northern Lehigh High School.