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Falcon field hockey team battles injuries

It’s been a tough season for the Salisbury field hockey team and it’s gotten tougher lately thanks to injuries. Even with all that they have stacked against them, the Lady Falcons have continued to battle down the final games of the season as they look to perhaps derail another team’s chances of reaching the postseason.

They faced Northwestern Lehigh (10-3-1 overall, 9-3-1 Colonial) this past weekend and came out on the losing side of a 7-1 decision. The lone goal for Salisbury came when junior Nevaeh Robinson scored with 17:45 left in the game to put the Falcons on the board.

For a team facing hard times, Northwestern isn’t an easy team to run into late in the year.

“Northwestern is a great ball club.,” said Salisbury head coach Jane Brennan. “They play smart. They’re classy. They’re just a really great ball club. We lost one of our seniors with a broken hand in our last game, and we have our leading scorer from last year out with her ankle, plus, our numbers are low.

“The good news is that the girls are here and they’re working hard and playing and I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. It does get challenging when stuff like that happens, because it’s heartbreaking. We have to find the motivation to keep going and that’s my job.”

The loss to Northwestern didn’t come from any lack of effort. Even in a deep hole late in the game, Salisbury (3-11-0, 2-10-0) was fighting for every ball and working to mount an offensive attack while slowing down the charging Tigers offense. As an elementary school teacher in the Salisbury School District, Brennan knows her players well and she has seen the team continue to fight and look for late season wins even with the odds against them.

“The effort is there and we’re still practicing and doing everything that we normally do and they keep showing up and giving 200-percent. It’s just a matter of putting it together and filling holes,” said Brennan. “We graduated nine seniors and it gets frustrating for these girls.

“It gets frustrating for me as a coach, but I told them the other day that I would want any of them in a foxhole with me.”

The loss to Northwestern was the fourth straight for Salisbury after losses to Palisades (9-6, 7-6), Wilson (4-7-1, 6-7-1) and Palmerton (7-8-0, 6-7-0).

The games against Palisades and Wilson were especially close, with the Lady Pirates downing Salisbury 4-2 and Wilson beating them 2-1.

Brennan admits that this season will have to be chalked up to being a building season. Out of the struggles of this year, she believes her players will have a strong foundation for next season.

The hit that the team will take from graduation won’t be as severe as last year either, since there are just three seniors on the roster.

“There is definitely potential, but they’re continually fighting out of being frustrated,” said Brennan. “It’s frustrating to get beaten this way, but they have to find it within themselves to keep going. They bring each other together and do a lot of team bonding things and that’s helped.”

The schedule for this week has road games at Northern Lehigh (4-10-0, 3-9-0) and Catasauqua (0-15-0, 0-13-0) before they return home against Southern Lehigh (14-0-0, 13-0-0) on Monday and end the season at home against Pen Argyl (3-11-0, 2-10-0) next Wednesday.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSalisbury's Khyra Heiney battles for a ball during a recent game against Palmerton.