WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Salem soccer team earned a 2-0 victory over visiting Emory & Henry on Thursday, Sept. 19, and became the first Spirits unit to pitch back-to-back shutouts in two years. Salem, which entered the match fresh off a 1-0 victory at Brevard on Tuesday evening, has now won consecutive matches for the first time since downing N.C. Wesleyan (4-1) and Guilford (4-1) on Sept. 22 and 25, 2018, respectively.
The last time Salem recorded consecutive shutouts was in 2017, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, against Greensboro (3-0) and William Peace (3-0), respectively. That unit strung together four shutouts between Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, downing Chatham (Sept. 24), Methodist (Sept. 27), Greensboro (Sept. 30) and William Peace (Oct. 1) in succession.
Salem (4-3-0) was led in goal by senior Hannah Wagner, who made six saves over the course of the match, including four in the second half. Emory & Henry (1-4-1) attempted 11 shots total, along with a pair of corner kicks, but Wagner improved her record to 2-1-0 on the season with the victory.
The Spirits' offense came from the combination of Gina Franco and Rachel Black. Franco netted the first goal of her collegiate career in the second half when she drove a penalty kick past the Wasps Kaela Schlevensky at the 55:18 mark after a foul committed by Isabel Swafford.
"It was a good performance, but we have to start capitalizing on our chances because we should've won by more," said head coach Octavia Saunders. "We have a big game against Ferrum on Sunday and hopefully we can keep building off this momentum as USA South Conference play starts next week."
Salem added an insurance goal at the 72:14 mark of the match when Martha Santos found an open Black for her second goal of the season. Black drove home the breakaway goal from the right side of the field, beating the Emory & Henry defender for the 2-0 advantage.
The Spirits offense attempted 24 shots, including 14 in the second half, on the afternoon. The trio of Kim Sephaphathi, Amy Bounds and Amanda Rojo had three shots apiece. Franco made two shots, as did Courtney Chaplin, Baylee Greenwood, Martha Santos, Brianna Monroe and Natalia Alvarez.
Of the 24 total Salem shots, 13 were shots on goal, led by Rojo who attempted three. Salem also attempted nine corner kicks, including seven in the first half.
The Spirits return home on Sunday to host Ferrum for a 2 p.m. match at Varsity Field. For more information on Salem soccer check out www.salemspirits.com.