The Williamsport girls soccer team has only gone in one direction under the guidance of Tim Salvagno.
In his third year as the Wildcats’ coach, they went 13-3-1 for their third straight winning season, improving on last year’s 10-6-1 campaign. They also won the MVAL Antietam with a 7-0 conference record and fell one victory short of advancing to the state final four in Maryland Class 2A.
Salvagno is The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Girls Soccer Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
“The girls have really dug in, and this has been my most enjoyable season,” he said. “It wasn’t so much about teaching the game this year, but teaching tactics. I got to take a step ahead of teaching the basics, so it was a challenge for me as well, trying to really teach the girls the different aspects of the game.”
Salvagno said the highlight of the season was his team’s thrilling 1-0 victory over Oakdale in the Class 2A West region semifinals.
“That really raised the bar for this program,” he said. “Seeing the girls enjoying that moment is something I’ll never forget.”
If there’s one game he might like to forget, it probably is Williamsport’s 1-0 loss to underdog Boonsboro in the final of the county tournament.
“To go through a whole season and only really be disappointed with 80 minutes of soccer, that speaks for itself,” he said.
But perhaps that setback made the Wildcats a stronger team.
“That brought us back down to earth and made us realize that anything can happen,” he said. “I have to credit the girls because the last two seasons that would have broken us. But we just showed up to the next practice and moved on.”
In their last game of the season, the Wildcats fell 2-1 in the region final to Middletown, which went on to win its third straight 2A state title.
“It’s always disappointing to lose,” Salvagno said. “But we’re heading in the right direction, and I’m excited about it.
“The goal was to help get Washington County girls soccer back on the map. There’s always that thought that we can’t compete with Frederick County and Carroll County, but that’s starting to change.”
Salvagno credits much of the Wildcats’ success to assistant coach Robbie Shaw.
“We’d be lost without that guy,” he said. “He’s been coaching most of those girls since they’ve been little. Those girls grew up with him, and I kind of inherited a lot of hard work that he’d done.”
Salvagno said his team should only continue to progress.
“Next season is going to be exciting for us,” he said. “Obviously we lose some girls, but I expect us to be back in the hunt for all three titles again (county, conference and region).”