EASTON — His goalkeeper is a softball player, his top midfielder a basketball player, and his goal scorer for the day is a tennis player.
“They’re all converted,” Salisbury School girls’ head soccer coach Roch DeFrances said with a grin. “We kind of reeled them in.”
That combination helped the Dragons reel in a 2-0 victory over Saints Peter and Paul Tuesday afternoon in a game between two teams battling for the fourth seed in the approaching Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference playoffs.
“They’ve been playing with 11 all year,” said DeFrances, who had no substitutes and played down a player for almost 14 minutes in the first half when Alexandra Dawson got injured.
Despite having just one win coming in and no reserves, Salisbury won the possession battle in the first half and prevented the Sabres (2-7 overall, 2-5 ESIAC) from getting any quality shots on net. But 16 minutes into the game, Dawson hurt an ankle and came off, giving Sts Peter & Paul an extra player.
Just over a minute later though, sophomore Kai Robinson sent a direct kick just over the heads of the Sabres’ four-man wall and past keeper Avery McCall for a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been coming off some injuries, coming off some illness,” said Sabres head coach Jess Kile, whose team edged the Dragons earlier this season in overtime. “It was just readjusting. “
Sts. Peter & Paul had chances to pull even, as Sydney Shilling sent a shot wide left with 9:35 remaining in the first half, and Hattie Messick was stopped at the left post by Salisbury keeper Zoe Elliott.
Salisbury continued clinging to its one-goal lead early in the second half, as Elliott made a nice save off a corner, then watched Messick steer another shot wide.
Robinson struck again with just over 20 minutes left, when she deked a defender and unloaded a shot from about 20 yards out that got past Sts. Peter & Paul’s second-half keeper Katie Bryan for a 2-0 lead.
Salisbury wasted little time in clearing the ball when the Sabres made pushes. Sts. Peter & Paul’s best scoring opportunity of the second half came with 10:35 left, when Caroline Ewing struck a ball from left wing toward the far post that McCall just missed connecting with.
“Nothing consistent, unfortunately,” Kile said after her team suffered its third straight shutout. “Kind of hesitant. Came out and played a little nervous.
“We need to come out more awake and more alert and go hard in the first couple of minutes and not slack off,” added Kile, whose team is slated to finish its regular season Monday at Salisbury Christian. “ Hopefully they can get it together.”