CALCUTTA — The Salem Women’s Soccer Team controlled possession and put Beaver Local away early in a 4-0 win on Monday.
“Not the cleanest game we’ve ever played” Salem coach Matt Freeman said. “But hey, a win is a win, especially when you’re on the road, so we’ll take it. [Possession] is huge – if the other team doesn’t have the ball, they can’t score – so the more you have, the better your chance of winning the game.
The Quakers’ dominant ball philosophy (5-2) worked perfectly against Beaver Local (5-3-1). Leading the Quakers offense was the team of junior forward Rylee Hutton and senior midfielder Abbie Davidson. Hutton had two goals and an assist, while Davidson added a goal.
“Those are two very big parts of our team,” Freeman said. “Both are very good players. Both are big kids. Our offense goes like Hutton – if it’s on our offense is going to click. Abbie fights there every game. Those two are key to this what we want to do for this season.
Fortunately for Freeman and the Quakers, Hutton and Davidson were “on” Monday evening. Hutton spaced the field and ran behind the Beaver defense all night, while Davidson won possession for the Quakers in midfield and passed the ball to Hutton. Hutton picked up an assist on Quaker captain Mikaylynn Murphy’s first goal of the game. She followed up the assist by scoring twice at 11:41 and 21:25 respectively in the first half. Davidson notched the Quakers’ fourth and final goal with 8:40 seconds remaining until halftime.
“I think we played well tonight” Huton said. “I think we really tried to play as a team and gave it our all. We were unlucky on some shots, but overall I think we played very well. We always try to own the ball and connect the passes because it allows us to play as a team.
For Beaver Local, the Beavers continually tried to take advantage of Salem goaltender Kaylee Carlisle’s positioning by taking longer shots from distance while Carlisle was away from the net. Unfortunately, attempts frequently sailed or hit the crossbar.
“I had the impression that in the first half, we were a bit on our heels” said Beaver coach Liz Connor. “At half time we talked about going out and playing with pride and heart. I feel like my girls definitely made it after losing 4-0 at half time, we kept them 0-0 in the second half.
In the second half, senior forward Jordan Palmer was able to drive deep into Quaker territory but was unable to get the ball past Carlisle.
“We made some changes in the second half, and Jordan played center forward for us and Michelle Stoneburner changed wing,” Connor said. “It looked like we were getting some possession and playing with her a bit more got us some shots on goal.”
Despite Beaver Local’s turnaround at halftime, second-half history came with 9:40 to go. The Salem field-side referee appeared to take issue with some comments directed at him and some of the Beaver Local players. He appeared to issue a warning to Freeman, but the referee stopped play and ordered both teams to the sidelines. The two referees spoke with Connor and Beaver Local athletic director Josh Sigler – who also went to speak with Freeman.
“It’s happened to us before, so we’re a bit used to it,” Huton said. “It happened a lot in previous matches, but it didn’t really affect us. It just gave us more motivation to go and play harder.
“I think it was due to something the officials overheard,” Freeman said. “I’m not sure beyond that. I really had no explanation.
“I don’t know exactly what happened” Connor said. “It was between them and the administrators.”
Sigler declined to comment on the stoppage of play.
Beaver Local is looking to get back into the win column on Thursday when they host St. Clairesville, while Salem is at Minerva on Wednesday.