Salem girls open region play with win

CONYERS -- Not even a heavy rain that blanketed the Conyers area could stop the Salem girls soccer team Tuesday.

Hannah Watkins and Chanci Roseberry each scored a goal as Salem opened Region 8-AAAA play with a 2-1 victory over Cedar Shoals.

It didn't take Salem (3-1, 1-0) long to take the first lead of the game. Layne Jackson lofted a kick deep into Cedar Shoals (1-3, 1-2) territory and Watkins corralled the ball and rifled a goal past Jaguars keeper Landis Mauldin at the 38:42 mark.

Roseberry came off the bench eight minutes into the game and had several scoring chances. She had two shots that were saved by Mauldin, then a pair of shots went into the side of the net. A rain shower began with 15 minutes until halftime, but Roseberry finally broke through, getting past the Cedar defense and putting away a shot to put the Seminoles up 2-0 with 14:25 left.

The visitors put pressure on the Salem defense on a number of occasions in the opening half, but only had one shot on goal. That came with 28:43 to play when Shaylee Pokoski's shot was saved by Sydni Booker. Later, a penalty gave Tien-Tien Cheng a kick 5 yards from the goal, but her shot hit the side of the net.

The entire second half was played in the rain, with the heaviest weather starting at the 33-minute mark and lasting the remainder of the game. With 27:36 to play, Pokoski got free and had a chance to end the shutout, but her shot hit the post.

Cedar did finally get on the scoreboard 11 minutes later, cutting the lead in half on a bizarre play. Pokoski's shot was scooped up by Booker, but the Salem keeper's momentum carried her into the net, resulting in a goal that made it a 2-1 game with 16:05 left.