Girls soccer advances to CL semifinals
The scoreboard may have looked nearly identical to its regular season win over Saucon Valley, but Salisbury’s victory over the Panthers in the Colonial League girls soccer semifinals was anything but similar to that late-September win.
Kerry Seiler scored Salisbury’s first goal, and Quinn Wittman added the final two in a 3-0 victory for the No. 4 seeded Lady Falcons on Saturday at Northern Lehigh High School.
Salisbury scored three goals in the regular season meeting as it defeated Saucon Valley back on September 28, 3-1.
“We actually controlled ball better on the ground in the game at our field in the regular season,” Falcon head coach Rick Babyak said. “In this game it was much more of a shootout where they were trying to play more direct. It was a little more free-for-all where the ball was in the air a lot more. We still handled that well. That’s what I was kind of proud of.”
Seiler, a sophomore midfielder, entered the playoffs with just five goals scored in the regular season. She couldn’t have picked a bigger moment to punch in her sixth.
Off a rebound, Seiler followed up a loose ball in front of Saucon Valley’s cage and fired it by goalie Jackie Barbera in the 10th minute for a quick 1-0 advantage.
“She does a lot of the grind work in the midfield where she just works hard,” Babyak said. “She has to always absorb a lot of the physical play in the midfield. But she pounced on a rebound, and she also did that earlier in the season…She has a really good nose for the game. She’s really smart in that position.”
After Seiler came through early, the Lady Falcons’ leading scorer finished off the Panthers late. Wittman punched in Salisbury’s second goal in the 50th minute to give the Lady Falcons a bit of breathing room in the second half.
Just 10 minutes later, she all but sealed the deal. Her 21st goal of the season came in the 60th minute and Salisbury wouldn’t look back. The Lady Falcons outshot Saucon Valley, 19-6.
“The girls came out ready to play,” Babyak said. “They were relentless. They worked hard throughout the game. They didn’t put down their guard at all. We used multiple players at multiple positions where some people played out of position to make some adjustments.”
More impressively was the Lady Falcons’ sixth shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Lily Schimeneck finished with five saves in goal.
“Lily Schimeneck had a really nice game in goal,” Babyak said. “She was consistently strong and confident. A keeper that exudes confidence builds confidence in the defense. When you can trust your keeper, your defense is so much better.”
The win advanced Salisbury against No. 1 seed Northwestern on Tuesday. Results were not available at time of press.
One of Salisbury’s three losses in league play came against Northwestern. In that loss, the Lady Falcons were leading before the Tigers scored two late goals for a 2-1 win in their Colonial League regular season opener.
No. 3 Moravian Academy and No. 2 Southern Lehigh met in the other semifinal game. The winners of each game will square off in the championship game on Thursday at 5 p.m. Location has yet to be determined