Girls soccer reaches D-11 semifinal
The chemistry between seniors Rylee Donaldson and Erica Holben is easy to spot on the soccer field. It’s won Salisbury plenty of games over their four-year careers.
Last Thursday night, the pair helped the Falcons pull out their biggest victory this season.
Donaldson set up Holben for the game’s only goal that sent No. 3 Salisbury into the District 11 Class 2A semifinals with a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Tamaqua last week. The win sets up a semifinal matchup with No. 2 Palisades on Tuesday. Semifinal results were not available at time of press.
“It’s a great win tonight,” Donaldson said of beating Tamaqua. “We battled a good team. Obviously we probably wanted to go ahead more than 1-0, but a win is a win. We are looking ahead to the next game. We know Palisades is a good opponent, but I think we are ready. We are prepared.”
Salisbury went in front in the 16th minute when the duo connected off a free kick opportunity. From nearly 30 yards out, Donaldson placed a ball in front of Tamaqua’s goal, where Holben was there to head it past Blue Raider goalie Baylee Reinhardt for an early advantage.
And while the Falcons had 13 total shots on goal, that one that found the back of the net would be enough.
“Every time it is a free kick or a corner in that area, I’m targeting Erica’s head,” Donaldson said. “It’s very reliable and I know it’s going to hit the back of the net. It’s an easy way to get a goal up.”
Tamaqua had a number of opportunities to tie the game in the final 40 minutes, particularly late with its back against the wall.
With just over six minutes to play, Katelyn Rudy placed a perfect free kick in front of Salisbury’s goal where Sophia Boyle got a head on it. But a Falcon defender was there to kick the ball out of dangerous territory.
Then, not even a minute later, there was another opportunity. Makenna Kane saw an opening on goal and took a deep shot at Salisbury’s goal, only for the potential equalizer to sail a few feet over the crossbar.
The Falcons also had their chances on goal, specifically seven on target in the second half. Reinhardt was there to come up with four big saves, however, and keep the Blue Raiders within striking distance.
“I think we found our combinations more in the second half,” Donaldson said. “We settled in. Shots weren’t falling, but I think that we will get them on frame. We’re going to practice our combinations and practice our through balls, and we will get them in the net on [against Palisades]”
The winner of Tuesday’s game between Salisbury and Palisades will play the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 4 Central Catholic and No. 8 Notre Dame (Green Pond). That game is scheduled for Thursday with a time and place to be determined.
“Definitely we are excited for a rematch,” Donaldson said. “I think we wanted to get a goal up on them, so hopefully on Tuesday we are able to do that.”
Palisades and Salisbury tied 0-0 in the regular season.