Defense may push Salem girls past semifinals
Kim Migliarese and Shannon Dishaw have helped the Spartans hold their five postseason foes to an average of 28.2 points per game.
Don Petersen | Special to The Roanoke
Lord Botetourt's Meagan Catron and Salem's Kim Migliarese (left) battle for the ball in the Group AA Division 4 Girls State Quarterfinals.
Don Petersen | Special to The Roanoke Times
Salem’s Shannon Dishaw isn’t upset that playoffs are forcing her to miss soccer practice. “I’m glad I’m here,” she said. ”I’d much rather go to Richmond.”
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Their job is to prevent opponents from scoring goals.
In two sports.
Kim Migliarese and Shannon Dishaw are standout defenders on Salem High School’s girls soccer team in the spring.
They are also defensive stoppers for the Spartans’ basketball team. That means soccer practice for the Salem duo is on hold for now as the Spartans will face Loudoun County at 11 a.m. today in a VHSL Group AA Division 4 basketball semifinal at VCU’s Siegel Center.
Migliarese, a senior who has signed a soccer scholarship with Division II Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.), is feeling slightly guilty about having already missed the first eight days of preseason practice.
“There’s pros and cons” she said. “In soccer I’m a captain. I could be helping the girls get ready to be playing with the team. It’s definitely something I’m missing right now.”
For Dishaw, a junior, soccer can wait.
“I’m glad I’m here,” she said. “I’d much rather go to Richmond.”
Salem’s girls are making the trip to VCU for the third straight year. The previous two semifinals did not go swimmingly.
In 2011, Salem lost 63-34 to eventual champion Liberty-Bealeton. Last year the Spartans were clobbered 70-30 by Courtland, which in turn was beaten by 25 points in the championship game by Millbrook.
Salem at least hopes to be competitive this time.
“We don’t want those embarrassing losses again, especially for the seniors and juniors that have been through it,” Migliarese said. “We want to show that we’re not always the team that gets beat.”
When the Spartans answer the bell this morning, defense will be their calling card.
Salem (24-3) has allowed 36.9 points per game this season, and the Spartans have limited five postseason opponents to a 28.2 average.
In 20 quarters of postseason play, Salem has held teams to fewer than 10 points in 16 of them. If the Spartans’ defense gets any stingier, their opponents’ points totals might start resembling soccer scores.
Wake Forest signee Tay Taylor, junior guard Maddie Price and senior center Tessa Foley handle the bulk of the scoring for Salem. Migliarese and Dishaw are in the lineup for their defensive skills.
“I’m not a good shooter,” Dishaw said. “Therefore, I have to do something else.”
Migliarese said basketball and soccer are complementary sports when it comes to locking down an opponent.
“The techniques for both of them are pretty much the same: staying low and keeping your eye on the person, not necessarily the ball where it is, being aware of your surroundings and always helping out,” she said.
Salem basketball coach DeWayne Harrell is a believer.
“I think it’s the soccer mentality of just getting the ball,” Harrell said. “You’re chasing the ball constantly in soccer. I think that makes a difference in other kids’ attitude as far as playing aggressively.”
Migliarese and Dishaw are usually assigned to a primary ballhandler, hoping to stop an offense before it starts.
“We always try to push them to their weaker hand, just try to frustrate them and get in their head without fouling too much,” Migliarese said.
Salem’s senior class has won 81 games in the past four years. It hasn’t been all business.
The Spartans are known as pranksters and just about anyone might be a victim.
“Last year I tried to put whipped cream on my friend’s legs but she woke up,” Migliarese said. “A couple of times a couple of girls put Saran Wrap on the toilet seats. I have a little stuffed cow. I sleep with it every night. Maddie Price will try to take it and hide it from me. She’ll put it up on the ceiling or in the rafters.
“We have harmless fun. We try to have a good time up there.”
Harrell has escaped being on the wrong end of a prank by his players — so far.
“They get on my nerves sometimes,” the Salem coach said. “They’re pretty sneaky. They have their little smile and they’re sneaky with it at the same time.”
Harrell hopes his girls can sneak up on an opponent or two this week.
“This is probably the best defensive team I’ve had,” Harrell said. “Each time is different. Each team is different. Each situation is different. Hopefully we can find a way to win and get to Saturday.”
“Oh, yeah,” Dishaw said. “We’ll be right back out there running our two miles.”
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