Women’s Soccer Routes Salem 7-1

Jessie Howison, freshman, edges out a Salem College player to win the ball.
Jessie Howison, freshman, edges out a Salem College player to win the ball.
Courtesy Photo

After dropping it’s first scrimmage to Emory & Henry 4-1, the women’s soccer team bounced back with a 7-1 thumping of Salem College last Saturday at home.

“The scrimmages were very different,” Head Coach Erin Saleeby said after the Salem game. “We learned a lot playing a DII team (E&H) earlier in the week and then also playing a past opponent from our time in the USA South.”

Saleeby said the team started out slow in the Salem game.

“We weren’t making quick decisions, and we were dribbling way too much.,” she said. “The second half was much better. We created goals and opportunities by getting the ball off of feet sooner and having better, more dynamic movement from our forwards.

Five different players scored for the Panthers on Saturday, with Ashlynn Mitcham, senior, breaking the seal on the Salem net first on an assist by Bri Bitz, junior.

Salem added to its troubles when an own goal put the Panthers up 2-0.

Mitcham and Bitz then traded roles as Bitz scored goal number three for the Panthers and Mitcham assisted. Mitcham had her hand in the fourth goal as well, when she assisted Nat Eikhoff, freshman, to make the score 4-1, as Salem squeaked one by the Panther defense to spoil the clean sheet.

Eikhoff then assisted Haley Woodward, junior, on the first of two times the pair would team up. Eikhoff fed Woodward on another goal as well to make the score 6-1.

The Panthers’ final goal came with just 36 seconds left on the clock, as Camryn King, senior, scored off of a Jadyn Patton, sophomore, assist to solidify the 7-1 victory.

After the win, Saleeby commented on the success of the 4-3-3 the team played.

“I foresee us playing this formation the most throughout the season,” she said. “We have practiced a 3-5-2, but we have less personnel for this formation. However, we will tailor our formation based on the opponent and what gives us the best chance for success.”

She also talked about the team’s overall strengths on the game.

“I think the strongest element the team displayed was the ability to change the game after halftime,” Saleeby said. “To adapt and take what was told to them in the locker room and put it into action.”

She also felt good about the set plays.

“We scored three goals from set pieces tonight, and one in our previous scrimmage,” Saleeby said. “This isn’t something that we have typically been dominant in, and I’m excited to see that changing.”

Between now and the season opener, Saleeby plans to concentrate on keeping the team organized on the field and finishing their chances at goal.

“Scrimmages are about learning and seeing what you have,” Saleeby said. “We have nine new players, and seeing them integrate into the team was exciting. Everyone played well, and everyone contributed. We are very excited to see what we can do this season. It’s shaping up to be a fun one!”

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