Greensburg Salem girls look to finish regular season strong before playoffs begin
Even though the playoffs are on the horizon, the Greensburg Salem girls soccer team is more concerned about finishing the regular season strong.
The Golden Lions (10-5-1, 7-3-1), with two games remaining, will return to the postseason after missing out last season when they finished 9-9 overall and 7-5 in Section 1-AA play.
However, first-year coach Kevin Hutchinson needs the team to just focus on the current task at hand.
“I want to get through the next two games right now. We have next week to worry about the playoffs,” Hutchinson said. “We need to take it one step at a time and just get through the regular season right now.”
The Golden Lions got off to a rough start by winning only three of the first six games. But in the past 10 matches, Greensburg Salem has won six and had a 1-1 draw to section foe Mt. Pleasant on Sept. 25.
“They have developed a will to win and have become more of a unified team.” Hutchinson said. “They play well together and are a pretty good team.”
The Golden Lions have been led offensively by senior Ali Sheffler, as she has stepped up to help make up for the graduation loss of Kellie Hutchinson, a top contributor for the Golden Lions in 2012.
But the main ingredient to Greensburg Salem's success has been the team defense. Junior goalkeeper Taryn Siix has recorded a shutout in all 10 wins for the Golden Lions.
“(Siix) has been phenomenal this year. She has stopped a lot of big shots for us this year,” Hutchinson said. “With the limited opportunities given up by our defense such as breakaways, she has made some big stops. I couldn't ask for a better goalkeeper.”
However, the 10 shutouts would not be possible without the Golden Lions' top defenders, which include seniors Ali Wilson, Sienna Shoup, sophomore Hope Creamer and freshman Emily Indof.
During this bounce-back year, the Golden Lions beat Southmoreland twice but were on the wrong side of the scoreboard for two matches against section leader Yough, falling 2-0 and 1-0 this season.
Hutchinson will use the two losses to Yough as motivation for the playoffs when he gets the team together for a scrimmage after the regular season concludes.
“They are good team,” he said. “They snuck a goal past us with eight minutes left. They really make us work hard and make us get better.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.