Quaker defense blankets Beaver
SALEM — The Salem girls soccer team once again relied on a familiar formula to stay unbeaten — lights out defense.
The Quakers blanked Beaver Local 1-0 on Monday and improved to 12-0 on the season.
This was also Salem’s sixth consecutive shutout victory. It’s defense hasn’t allowed a goal since Sept. 8. Beaver Local fell to 4-4-3.
Salem head coach Kent Paulini said it’s the intangibles that help his defense clamp down during a 40-minute span.
“The big things is we’re constantly communicating. We recognize that if somebody is out of there space, somebody else is going to fill it. Whoever gets beat is turning to the middle of the field. Our outside backs don’t give the other team an opportunity to create much,” Paulini said.
The lone Salem goal came from Rylee Hutton with Clara Double providing the assist.
“I like that we worked as a team to get to that goal. We worked really well at connecting passes over the middle to get that goal,” Hutton said.
Paulini said Hutton, who has a team-high 23 goals this season, has been doing things even the general public doesn’t understand.
“She’s someone with speed, athleticism, and skill up top. The entire area knows to look out for her right now,” Paulini said. “What they don’t see is the competitor that she is. She’s sprinting back and recovering defensively 20 yards when she recognizes it’s a one goal match with a minute and a half left. She’s developing a strong game IQ. She doesn’t walk off the field and think ‘I could have done more for my team.'”
The Quakers controlled the ball for most of the contest and didn’t allow the Beavers to drive towards their goal a vast majority of the night.
Salem’s Sam Moore made a key save with about four minutes remaining in the game and had six saves total.
Despite a tough road loss, Beaver Local played stellar defense and stole possession of the ball frequently, especially around midfield.
“We play very well against harder teams. We just can’t seem to get over the hump, whether it’s finishing shots or having that person who really wants to take over the game for us,” Beaver Local head coach Elizabeth Connor said. “We’re still trying to find those leaders on the field, but we played very well.”
On Monday, the latest Div. II Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll was announced. The rankings placed Salem at 15th in the state.
“It’s great that we’re being recognized. It kind of puts us on the map. We proud ourselves on it, but there are a lot bigger goals that we’re shooting for and being No. 15 in the state isn’t good enough for us,” Paulini added.
The Quakers will host Eastern Buckeye Conference foe Alliance on Wednesday.
Beaver Local visits Cambridge on Thursday.
With playoffs coming up in a few weeks, Salem is trying to push itself to another level.
Monday’s game with Beaver was just the second time all year that the Quakers had a one-goal margin of victory.
“This game was a really good lesson for us in that we have good competition coming up. It’s not going to be so easy anymore. So, that was a warning for us. I think we know now that we have to pick it up and perform to the best of our abilities,” Hutton said.
• Beaver Local hasn’t beat Salem since Oct. 3, 2018.
• The Beavers last win came on Sept. 9 versus Wheeling Catholic Central.
• The Quakers only had one loss during the regular season last year.