September 05, 2019
By: Erica Rose
Fall Sports are finally underway! On Tuesday, I took the trip down to Northwestern Lehigh to see the girls soccer team open their season against Salisbury. I expected it to be a close game, but you can never be too sure especially with it being the first league game of the year. Teams could still be figuring things out and there are always those first game jitters. The Tigers finished last year with a 17-4 record, but graduated 2 dynamic scorers. This year, they look to fill their void through several players. The Falcons also graduated 2 All-Stars, but return 9 players with experience.
Getting to the game, I must admit it was a little slow to start. Defenses really set the tone, limiting the shots on both sides however Northwestern clearly controlled time of possession. The Tigers saw a few opportunities on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net. It appeared as if this game would be scoreless heading into the half, but Salisbury caught a lucky break with 4 minutes to go. Quinn Whitman would bring the ball down the right side and cross it right on cage, unfortunately defender Mackenzie Hess was the one to knock it in.
Sophia Motolese opened the second half nearly tying the game up, but the ball would hit the post. The Tigers, who were once again controlling the game, were prevented a fast break opportunity when Kylie Zentz was tripped up by the Salisbury keeper. There was no call, and let me tell you this did not sit well with the Tigers. Minutes later, it was Zentz again who was about to break free when AGAIN she was tripped. This time the refs had to call it, resulting in a direct kick right in front and Bailey Groff made it count going right over top of Lily Schimeneck in goal. With 8:36 left on the clock, the game was now tied. Judging by the way the entire game went I figured this game was headed to OT, but the Tigers sealed the deal with 3:42 remaining. Zentz, who finished with a goal and an assist, would find Kayla Bardonner right in front, and despite being surrounded by Salisbury players she would scoop the ball up and over giving Northwestern the 2-1 victory.
After the game Head Coach Kelly Bleam was really happy to come away with the win. It was the first game of the season, and the team continued to do the things they’ve been taught. They didn’t give up, kept their heads up and in the end it paid off. But, Bleam could not stop raving about Salisbury. She also had to give a lot of credit to her back 4. Not only did the defense play extremely well, the girls only allowed one corner in the game, and just one shot in the second half.
Next up for the Tigers is Palermton on Thursday. Salisbury welcomes in Pen Argyl on Saturday. Good luck to both teams this season!