Girls soccer prepares for district playoffs
Salisbury and Southern Lehigh both finished the Colonial League portion of their schedules 8-2-2 and tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the league tournament.
But only one of those teams could earn the No. 4 seed and a date with top-seeded and unbeaten Saucon Valley when the tournament opened on Tuesday. Due to a tiebreaker, the Falcons ended up on the outside looking in.
While both teams shared identical league records and tied 2-2 in the regular season finale, the tiebreaker came down to which team had the better regular season record against the other three playoff teams (Saucon Valley, Palisades and Northwestern). Southern Lehigh was 1-2, while Salisbury finished 0-2-1 against those foes.
“I am very proud of the way our team played against Southern Lehigh,” Babyak said. “Yes, there is disappointment that we didn’t get through to leagues, but at this point we have to look ahead to what we need to do to win districts.
“We had one of the toughest schedules in the area…When we are at the top of our game, I believe we can compete with any team in the Lehigh Valley.”
While Salisbury won’t be competing for a league championship this week, its season isn’t over just yet. The Falcons will have over a week off before districts begin.
And Babyak believes that with its tough nonleague schedule that included Blue Mountain, Whitehall, Nazareth and Pleasant valley, his team can compete with anyone in the Class 2A field.
“We have a couple of scrimmages in the works,” Babyak said. “We need to stay sharp, get our passing game sharper, and work on our accuracy with balls out of the back. We’ll work on shooting, services from the flanks and a good dose of penalty kicks every day.”
The Falcons will also look to get healthier for when districts begin next week. Salisbury is the No. 3 ranked team in the 2A field, with Northwestern (16-2), Palisades (14-2-2) and Pine Grove (11-6-1) also slotted in as qualifiers.
“We also will use this time to heal,” Babyak said. “Many of our players have been carrying injuries for some time now. It would be nice to go into our first playoff game with everybody as healthy as they can be.”
Despite the loaded field against two Colonial League playoff teams, Babyak and the Falcons’ goal is clear: win the entire thing.
“[Our goal is] to win districts,” Babyak said. “To get our team firing to the point where we are at the top of our game every time we go out there to give ourselves the best possible chance to win.”