ALLENTOWN - Salisbury started fast during Tuesday's opening round of the District 11 2A soccer tournament and the Falcons never relented. Salisbury, the sixth-seed, scored early and often en route to a 7-1 victory over eleventh-seeded Tamaqua. Kevin Burahona scored a hat trick for Salisbury, as the Falcons (12-7) moved on to Thursday's quarterfinal against third-seeded Northwestern.
Despite yesterday's outing by Tamaqua (7-11-1), who needed to win their final regular season game to make their eighth straight appearance in the postseason, head coach Greg Stewart was happy about his team extending their season, since the Raiders are mostly a young group this.
“Our goal was to qualify for districts this year and we did that," said Stewart. “We only have four seniors, so this is a stepping stone for us heading into next season."
Salisbury jumped out to a 2-0 lead halfway through the first half when Burhona netted his first two strikes.
Salisbury midfielder Shawn Baker put away a low ball in the box 12 minutes from intermission under the arms of Tamaqua keeper Tyler Cimino to make it 3-0. The Raiders did follow Baker's goal with a Justin Delp tally four minutes later, after he took a rebound just outside the six and put it away to make it 3-1.
Unfortunately Baker put away his second goal of the game two minutes later off a corner kick header to build a commanding 4-1 lead entering intermission.
“When you fall behind that early, it becomes difficult to get back into the game," Stewart said. “We didn't know much about Salisbury coming in and they were more aggressive. Playing on a wet turf didn't help us either."
Tuesday's game was only Tamaqua's second contest on turf this year. Playing an unfamiliar opponent on new territory may have been an issue, but the Raiders defensive lapses put the game away for sure 10 minutes into the second half. Tamaqua's inability to clear two of Salisbury's 12 corners led to two goals when Jacob Huddinger and Burahona put away two scores in the box to make it 6-1. Austin Koch concluded the scoring with a goal 24 minutes into the half for the 7-1 advantage.
The Falcons out shot Tamaqua 22-9 and only allowed two Raider corner kicks.
“We had some defensive breakdowns, but I think our younger guys will learn from that," said Stewart. “This was just a good experience for them to get here and see where they need to improve."