Salisbury girls soccer falls in D-11 playoffs
The last time the Salisbury girls’ soccer team found itself in penalty kicks was the 2016 Colonial League tournament semifinals. The Lady Falcons were fortunate enough to edge Saucon Valley, 5-3 in penalty kicks, for the victory.
Over three years later, Salisbury found itself one again in a similar situation. But the results weren’t as favorable.
No. 6 seed Jim Thorpe outlasted the No. 3 seeded Lady Falcons, 5-4 in penalty kicks, after a scoreless regulation and two overtime periods, to end Salisbury’s season in the District 11 Class 2A quarterfinals round. The Olympians met Central Catholic in the semifinals rounds. Results were not available at time of press.
“They put everything into the game,” head coach Rick Babyak said. “It wasn’t always pretty out there today. There were a lot of balls bouncing around in a lot of different directions, and a lot of direct play. We’re not the best adapted to a really bang-bang direct play style. We like to try to keep it on the ground. And when we did today, we had a little more success, but we didn’t do it enough.”
The Lady Falcons (13-7) were neck and neck with the Olympians through four penalty kicks, requiring Babyak to select another set of five players until one team pulled ahead. And it was Jim Thorpe’s Heidi Washel who scored the game-winning kick to give the Olympians their first ever playoff win.
Caroline Kenyon, Quinn Wittman, Hannah Mamay and Molly Foust all connected on their penalty shots.
“You’ve got to put away your chances when you get them,” Babyak said. “They had their chances as well. And then it comes down to PKs, and that’s always tough. We practice them, and no matter how much you practice them you’re not going to be able to recreate the intensity and emotion you’re going to deal with.”
While both teams failed to score through 80 minutes of regulation and 30 additional minutes of overtime, both had their fair share of opportunities on goal.
Salisbury held an edge during regulation. The Lady Falcons’ best opportunity on net in the first half came when Wittman fired a shot in the 30th minute that was just wide left of Jim Thorpe’s goal.
That momentum shifted into the second half. Off a corner from Olivia Hoeing just two minutes into the second half, Kerry Seiler’s header was on target but punched free by Olympian goalie Kate Bos. Foust then fired a deep shot from 25 yards out in the 60th minute that was also saved by Bos, and Wittman’s shot with four minutes left in regulation sailed just feet over the crossbar.
“We didn’t control the ground game well enough,” Babyak said. “But I’m proud of our group of girls. They put a lot out on the table as well. They played with heart and intensity as well. And it could have gone either way during the game. We definitely had our chances.”