GLOUCESTER— The Gloucester girls soccer team’s season opening match with Salem Tuesday night at New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium was a learning experience.
The young Fishermen came into Tuesday’s match returning very few players from 2012 and were facing off against a Salem team that is expecting improvements this season.
In the season opener, Gloucester turned in a performance expected out of a young team early in the season. The Fishermen certainly brought the effort and did not give the Witches anything, but because they are still trying to find their identity and grow comfortable playing with one another, they did not execute as well as their more experienced foes.
Gloucester hung around for a half, but Salem broke things open in the second half with a 5-1 win.
“We are a young team, and you could see at times that we are still learning how to play with each other,” Gloucester first year head coach Ali Walsh said. “Our main goal tonight was to go out and compete. I thought we did in the first half, now we will work on sustaining that for the whole game.”
Salem (1-1) controlled play from the opening whistle keeping Gloucester (0-1) on its heels for the vast majority of the 80 minutes of play. When Gloucester was able to play the ball out of harms way, the Witches midfield and defense was there to make sure there was no scoring opportunity.
“We played great in the midfield,” Salem coach Fred Day said. “We really wanted a good effort tonight because we thought we gave away our last game a bit and we did what we needed to do.The effort was there and the execution was there all night.”
The Witches got on the board eight minutes in when Freshman Tayla O’Leary scored on a nice re-direct off of a corner kick. Salem would threaten throughout the first half but the Gloucester defense held strong and the score remained 1-0 at the break.