By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The North Salem Boys Soccer back half on defense stepped up to the challenge presented by South Salem in the Vikings first jamboree scrimmage of the season Friday afternoon at Bennett Field.
The Saxons midfield kept North Salem’s runs limited to a limited runs, coming close to scoring with Diodone Kilongo almost striking in the 20th minute that could have separated the two team in the highly physical and competitive game.
“We played good, if we had more time maybe we could have scored. It would have changed up the game a little bit, just transitioning faster, quicker and getting more shots on goal,” said Salomon Rodriguez. “We’re looking pretty good, but we can improve. We can still have the whole season to improve, we’ll do big things this year.”
As they wrap up the jamboree against McNary mid-afternoon Friday, the Vikings look to build off of their 6-7-1 season in their first season in 5A in which they reached the first round before falling to eventual State Runner-Up La Salle Prep 3-1.
With team chemistry being their focal point entering the Fall with them playing McKay September 5 for North Salem, and playing without a few players due to work Friday, they slowed down Julian Rivas Delgado and the pressing offense in front of them to keep South Salem’s goalie Stuart Heringer on alert on those few occasions when the Viks broke a run into the back third.
Coming off their first non-playoff year this decade in 2018 after going 4-7-3, 2004 was the last time the Saxons Boys Soccer team didn’t reach the post season, just the little things like communication will help them entering their first game of the year at home versus Sheldon on Tuesday.
“We just got to communicate better as a team and making sure we’re all defending together. Just working with one another and just keep playing out of the back to get there, but mostly staying connected as a team vocally and just on the field,” said Heringer. “I feel like this season we got more, we’re more of a team. There’s no individuals on this team, it’s all just one group.
“I think if everyone just puts in work and have the desire to win every game, we can do way better than we did last year.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald