WINSTON-SALEM – Year by year, the Salem College soccer team keeps getting better and better.
In just their fourth year in the NCAA and their second season in the Great South Athletic Conference, the Spirits are one of the top scoring offenses in Division III and sit at first or second place in the conference in several categories, including goals, assists and shutouts.
The team's sisterhood seems to foster their growth.
"We're a very close team. We all hang out after class," said senior midfielder, Kim Wisen. "We're all together and we all eat lunch together, eat dinner together, go to practices together, everyone lives by each other. So, I think that helps with the communication on the field and just knowing where we're going to be."
The young, up-and-coming team has ten underclassmen starters with sophomore goalkeeper Jazmine Bridgeman ranking 24th in the nation in save percentage and 39th in goals against average. First-year forward Alexi Saganich is also nationally ranked in goals and points per game.
"The progression they've made from last year and previous years to this year, it's such an improvement," said first-year forward Saganich. "I think it was really unexpected and no one expected us to win so many games and do so well. Just being able to say that we came all this way and we're winning all these games, it feels great."
The Spirits put their skills on display Wednesday night against Maryville, a team that has won 103-straight GSAC games. Salem gave the Scots a run for their money with a scoreless match until a late goal gave Maryville a 1-0 win.
Salem lost to Maryville in the conference semis last season; they continue to improve and look for a rematch down the road.
"We wanted to do as good during the conference regular season as we could to set us up for a better seed than what we were last year in the conference tournament, which will give us a little bit easier of a run to get into that championship game,” said Jay Callahan, Salem College Soccer Coach. “But the ultimate goal is to be playing our best soccer at the end of the year.”
The Spirits are 7-2 as they head into the second half of their season.