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Undefeated boys soccer takes down Salisbury

Coming into Salisbury’s home turf, Northwestern certainly wanted to start off fast.

No one could have anticipated just how quickly things began to unfold during Tuesday night’s Colonial League boys soccer tilt.

JD Haaf struck early with his 17th goal of the season just two minutes into the game, and the Northwestern offense built off that. The Tigers (7-0 overall, 4-0 in Colonial League) added two more goals before halftime, and Keegan Coffield’s goal in the second half put the final touch on their 4-0 win over Salisbury (7-2 overall, 4-1 in Colonial League) and hand the Falcons their first league loss.

“We got that one big goal early, which I think really set the tone for tonight,” Northwestern head coach Nate Hunsicker said. “It kind of spoiled their plans earlier than what they anticipated. You could just see from the body language that it deflated them very quickly.

“It’s deflating when something like that occurs. It’s all how you respond, and the longer you don’t get that equalizer, the more uphill the job seems to be.”

Both teams are among the league favorites and figure to be standing once the postseason rolls around in late October. The Tigers, one of two unbeaten squads remaining in conference play, certainly look like the team to beat early on.

“Obviously when you play the top four or five teams in the Colonial League, Salisbury being one of them, you circle it on your calendar and know you have to come in ready to play to get the result you want,” Hunsicker said. “That’s one of the biggest things we stressed coming into tonight, and the boys came out sharp.”

Haaf opened the Tigers’ scoring barrage after stealing the ball from a Falcon defender and breaking away enough to place it into the back of the net. Andrew Goodolf ripped a shot from 15 yards after the midway mark of the first half that increased Northwestern’s lead to 2-0.

“The biggest thing with him [Haaf] now, especially against the more quality opponents, teams are really keying in, playing on him, and double-teaming him,” Hunsicker said. “That creates opportunities for everyone else on the pitch.”

The opportunities were coming from all sorts of options and angles all night.

Bradley Shafer blasted a shot into the right side of Salisbury’s goal after goalie Tyler Keller initially recorded one of his nine saves. But Shafer cleaned up a loose ball around the edge of the 18 just seconds later.

Northwestern poured in 11 more shots on goal in the second half. Coffield’s tally put the final stamp on the Tigers’ victory with just under 11 minutes left on the clock.

“I just saw the goal and took my opportunity,” Coffield said. “I placed it on the ground hoping it would go in basically.

“It was a great win. It sent a big message to the league and everything. It’s a big step forward for us in the league.”

Thursday’s match against Palmerton begins a three-day stretch of games for the Tigers. Game time against the Blue Bombers is 4 p.m. at Northwestern High School.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZBrandon Shafer keeps his eyes down field as he maintains control of the ball.