Published Jun 30, 2024

Written By:  Jenny Ellis
Photography By:  Travis Gallipo 


Sioux Falls Keeps Conference, Postseason In Reach After 1-0 Victory in Central Region Match of the Week



With almost identical records on paper, both Sioux Falls City FC and Salvo SC fought for the top spot in the Northern Conference on Friday, June 28th at the Bob Young Field in Sioux Falls, S.D. 

When Salvo hosted Sioux Falls early last season the match ended in a 1-1 draw. This year, meeting at the end of the season, both teams have gained valuable momentum that surely influenced this championship encounter and made the match truly anyone’s to win. 


Salvo's Khyah Harper takes shot on Sioux Fall's Cambell Fischer, 2024 Photo by Travis Gallipo

Reflecting on the upcoming challenge, Sioux Falls Head Coach, Joe DeMay, acknowledged the strength of Salvo’s players and prior match ups between the two teams.

“Salvo is a very good opponent with experience,” DeMay said. “In particular, they have a really set core of players from all their seasons. And I think this year, a lot of people have talked about the game and the meaningfulness of it in terms of the standings. So both teams have a very established track records from this season going into it.” 

As of kickoff on Friday night, Salvo held the top spot in the conference with 24 points after winning all eight of its matches this season. Prior to this match, its most recent win was on the road versus MapleBrook Fury on Wednesday, June 26th. Sioux Falls sat close behind in second place with 21 points, also maintaining an undefeated record, with a match in hand.

The initial start of the match saw both teams having trouble linking passes through each third of the field and establishing a cohesive rhythm. Early play was primarily dominated by long balls toward the front lines – resulting in little effective action on either side in the attacking third.

Although there was a general pattern of struggle in the opening minutes, the first 15 minutes were dominated by Salvo as it advanced its lines forward and confined the match to Sioux Falls' defensive half. Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities through this high press, Salvo failed to capitalize on its early momentum.


Sioux Falls' Taylor Thomas presses ball forward, 2024 Photo by Travis Gallipo

As the half progressed, Sioux Falls found its footing and capitalized on combination plays throughout the field in order to better penetrate Salvo's defensive lines.

The match was a test for both sides to face levels of pressure each had not yet encountered this season. Sioux Falls’ DeMay, especially wanted his team to recognize that they would have less possession compared to in previous matches. 

This crucial ability to be able to react was put on display by his players in their effective through balls and well-placed crosses into the box, which started to create more promising scoring chances for Sioux Falls after its slower start.

Salvo, initially appearing flustered by Sioux Falls' increasing attacking pressure, struggled to respond meaningfully. 

The turning point came in the 37’ minute when a breakaway by Salvo’s Katelyn Beulke forced a critical defensive effort from Sioux Falls’ goalkeeper, Cambell Fischer, and left back, Rebecca Storr. Their combined effort at the top of the box shut down Salvo’s close scoring opportunity, but did not stop a seemingly re-energized Salvo eleven. This reignited competitive spirit was evident throughout Salvo’s players, including the defensive line.

In the 45’ minute a crucial save was made by Salvo’s goalkeeper, Ayden Gagner, inside the six-yard box following a shot from Sioux Falls' Katharina Oelschlaeger.


Salvo's Ayden Gagner after a save, 2024 Photo by Travis Gallipo

The first half of play was marked by aggressive physicality on both sides – with multiple stoppages due to injuries – a testament to the high stakes nature of the match. 

Despite the fierce battle that ensued, the scoreline remained 0-0 after the first half whistle. 

The beginning of the second half was marked by the same patterns that commanded the first 45 minutes of play – both teams shared possession and had the ball moving between both halves of the field frequently.  

This deadlock was broken in the 65’ minute when Sioux Falls found the back of the net.

Sioux Falls linked together three passes through the middle of the field as left winger, Mia Mullenmeister culminated in a through ball, played behind Salvo’s defensive lines, to forward, Mia Bosch, who finished with a low driven ball into the near post, slipping past Gagner’s gloves– her second goal of the season.  

The Sioux Falls eleven were further energized by this 1-0 lead and took hold of the game to press this advantage even more.

Alongside the outfield players, Fischer put on an outstanding performance – continuing to make essential saves for Sioux Falls up until the final whistle. 


Sioux Falls' sidelines and fans celebrate Mia Bosch goal, 2024 Photo by Travis Gallipo

After this excitement and despite Salvo’s attempt to recover from its setback, the game fell into a disjointed and panicked pace for the remaining 20 minutes – with neither team working effectively to slow down and regain control of the tempo of the match.   

In the dying minutes of the match, it was evident both sides were fighting with all they had to maintain or create its desired result. Sioux Falls, in particular, was defending aggressively to keep the title that was almost in its grasp. 

“There's going to be a lot of little individual battles and frustrations, and things like that, that you have to deal with. You're going to have to have some resilience to say; ‘hey, this is not like the other games, and we're okay, we know how to defend’,” DeMay said.

And defend Sioux Falls did. Even with its best efforts, Salvo couldn’t find an equalizer to keep its hopes of yet another conference championship alive. 

Sioux Falls concluded what was potentially the most crucial game of its season with the 1-0 triumph and preserved its undefeated status as it heads into the final regular-season match on Sunday Sioux Falls will undoubtedly carry its boosted confidence into this season finale.

For Salvo SC, a bitter end to a strong season. Its players can walk away from this defeat with their heads held high – remembering their historical run to the championship final last year and its highly successful record in 2024, going 8-1-0.