WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.— Salem junior Kim Sephaphathi netted the game-winning goal at the 69-minute mark of the match as the Spirits earned a 2-1 victory over crosstown rival Piedmont International in soccer action on Thursday afternoon at Varsity Field.
The victory extends Salem's winning streak to a season-long three straight and the first three-match winning streak by head coach Octavia Saunders in her career. The last time the Spirits posted at least three wins in a row was when they won eight straight between Sept. 23-Oct. 11.
Sephaphathi's first goal of the season came after she rebounded a corner kick attempt by Ellie Montes, who notched her team-best fifth assist of the season in the process. Sephaphathi became the 10th different Spirit to net a goal in 2019.
After a scoreless first half, which witnessed a combined 28 shots by the two teams, Piedmont International (6-6-1) assumed the 1-0 lead on a strike by Kelsie Simpson at the 50:30 mark. Simpson, positioned in front of Salem netminder Hannah Wagner, drove home a pass from the combination of Katelyn Goodman and Ashli Mincey to give the Bruins the lead.
Just over five minutes later, Salem answered with a goal by Courtney Chaplin at 55:56, evening the score at one-all. Chaplin converted a penalty kick, following a foul in the crease on teammate Martha Santos, which resulted in her fourth goal of the season.
The Salem defense, which limited the Bruins to six shots over the course of the half, put the Spirits' offense in position to grab the victory. The offense responded with 36 shots, including 16 in the second half, and 15 shots on goal over the course of the match.
Rachel Black led the way with four shots on goal, while Chaplin took four and Amaya Wilhelm attempted two. Nine different Spirits attempted at least one shot on goal in the contest.
Hannah Wagner improved to 5-3-1 on the season in goal, making four saves along the way. Her counterpart, Ericka Washburn, finished with 13 saves in the contest.
Salem returns to the pitch on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Methodist. For more information on Salem soccer check out www.salemspirits.com.