Salyer the goal-slayer
MICHIGAN CITY — On the basketball court, Marquette senior Claire Salyer is a solid role player for the defending Class A state champions that can defend and knock down an open shot consistently. Her nine-point, five-rebound performance in the state title game against Vincennes Rivet was a key component in the Blazers cutting down the nets in Indianapolis back in February.
Just don’t ask her to pick a favorite between basketball and soccer.
“I’ve never really known the difference,” Salyer said. “I’ve never had a favorite. I love them both [laughs].”
On the soccer field, Salyer’s role is a bit different during the fall season.
After a strong campaign last season that saw former Marquette forward Stacey Barron set the all-time mark for most goals scored in a Blazer career, Marquette was hit hard by graduation and a lack of depth heading into this season. That lack of depth, which even meant the Blazers had to play with just 10 girls at times early this season, hasn’t hurt Salyer’s production.
Salyer has scored 15 of Marquette’s 28 total goals with four assists, and not only taken on the challenge of carrying a heavy load in the Blazer attack, but being a more vocal leader on the field; something she feels she can also carry over into basketball season.
“Last year, we had Stacey and MJ [Michaela Jennings] and we all understood the game really well,” Salyer said. “We played off each other a lot. This year has been a lot different because I feel like I’m kinda the lead. I’m supposed to take charge and lead the team. I feel good in that role, too. It’s a lot different than I’m used to and I enjoy it.”
Despite seven consecutive defeats to start the season with the first few coming without a full lineup to put on the field for the Blazers, Salyer’s confidence in her teammates hasn’t wavered, and she believes that this team’s quality can never be questioned.
“The thing I like about this team is that no matter what happens, no matter if we’re winning or losing, our energy is always up and it’s always high,” Salyer said. “Even though some of the girls out here haven’t played before, or haven’t played that much before, we never give up and we’re always playing hard.”
With the sectional around the corner for the Blazers and the team starting to head in a more positive direction, it’s still going to be a tall task getting through the postseason with defending state finalist Wheeler hosting the sectional.
Tough bracket or not, Salyer believes in her team and thinks there’s still more ahead for her and Marquette with the season winding down.
“Everyone has improved so much since the start of the season and that’s what I’m so proud of,” Salyer said. “We just have to go into every game not thinking that we can’t win. If we go in thinking that if we play our best, we can win. It’s all about our energy. We have to keep that up and if we do, we can win some more.”