By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Weird to think how much a tough preseason slate can help a team.
Those preseason games against Top 5 teams in Jesuit, Mountainside and Sherwood, along with a change in their lineups throughout the season, had paid off to a 3-0-1 start to league for the South Salem Girls Soccer program following their 4-0 win over Mountain View Friday afternoon.
“It’s super important to keep our momentum going and getting the ball back in the net. Just keep finding passes around them and connect,” said Maddie Bingham. “After coming off a tough preseason, I think we were down a little bit after losing so many games. But having an undefeated season so far has rebuilt our confidence to have a good season after this.”
After starting the season losing their first four games, the Saxons now are sitting 5-5-1 with wins in five of their last seven games. Their lone tie coming against fourth-ranked West Salem in a 1-1 game.
And as South Salem brought the pressure early against the freshman goalie in Rylee Todd, only to have the ninth-grader convert on four saves in the opening 18 minutes of the game, eventually the shots started to fall.
Marina Foster’s goal in the 23rd handed the Saxons a 1-0 lead and again in the 35th by Maria Juarez to build the early lead entering halftime up 2-0.
That momentum they built during that first half to carry into the second has been their motive all season long. Work through the hard times and playing together, something they’ll need once more against Summit next Friday.
“This whole season has been about building momentum. We’re growing and we’re focusing on our performance and we’re trying to build it each game, each practice…just trying to get better and today was a good representation of that,” said Foster, who finished with two goals in the win. “I think the plan will be playing together and playing through the tough moments.
“You could work hard but not everything’s going to go the way you wanted to in a game of soccer. We need to continue to be there for each other and today we did,” Foster adds.
Bingham, the defensive midfield and backline kept the pressure to a minimal to Anna Burger during the game, something they’ll look to carry over against the Storm with the Saxons in the hunt for the league title halfway through league.
The Saxons and West Salem are tied at 3-0-1 in the league standings while the Storm sit at 4-0 following their 5-0 win over Sprague Friday.
Angela Hage replaced Burger in the 57th minute, Foster picked up her second goal of the game a minute later that pushed South Salem’s lead to 3-0 and Sariah Venegas scored in the closing minutes of the victory.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald