Salem (MA) Witches Girls Soccer '07

From left, sisters Michelle and Gabrielle Stanley, Kristin and Audrey Wyke, Melissa and Molly Ryan, Monique and Janelle Gallant and Meghan and Amanda Wilkins all play in the Salem (Mass.) High School soccer program. » Linsey Tait, Staff Photographer

Sisters galore in Salem High girls soccer program

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Tuesday, October, 23 By Bill Kipouras
Staff writer

Kristin Wyke has college plans that don't include varsity soccer. The Salem High senior goalkeeper is most likely to continue in either club or intramurals in college, perhaps even playing lacrosse instead.

Her priorities are Indiana and Purdue, Division 1 schools which are beyond her reach athletically in soccer.

"This is probably it for me. It's kind of sad," the 17-year-old Wyke said of her high school soccer career. "I started playing in the Salem Co-Ed League. I was 4 or 5. Now I'm retiring? I'm already missing it."

She will always cherish the memory of having her sophomore sister, Audrey, a two-year teammate and defender, as a teammate at Salem High. Audrey said it was extra special because it wasn't until she reached high school that they were paired up.

That being said, the Wykes had plenty of company who also considered it a special privilege to be part of the 2007 Salem High girls soccer program.

Would you believe the Witches have five | yes, five | sets of sisters in Coach Jess Doyle's program? The 10 siblings constitute almost one-third of the Witches' roster of 34 players.

Unusual, yes. But having all the siblings certainly added to the team's camaraderie, Doyle said.

"I think it makes for a family atmosphere," said Audrey Wyke. "I think the parents get a lot more into it when you have this situation."

It truly has made 2007 a family affair.

In addition to the two Wykes, here are the rest of the Salem soccer sisters: Sophomore twins Gabrielle and Michelle Stanley, junior varsity players who left Salem for Florida in eighth grade and transferred back as sophomores.

Junior Meghan Wilkins, a three-year starter at fullback, and promising freshman Amanda Wilkins, a jayvee sweeper. Meghan is invaluable as a marker, shadowing the opponent's best player. She never gives up and can run all day.

Junior Melissa Ryan, a center midfielder, and sophomore Molly Ryan, another midfielder. Melissa's a three-year regular, the team's playmaker and target player. Both Ryans are varsity performers.

Junior Monique Gallant, a center middie scoring threat and three-year first teamer who was an NEC all-star last year, and sophomore Janelle Gallant, a fullback who has been injured most of the season with a fracture in her lower back. She reported to preseason camp with the injury and although sidelined, she shows up every day at practice.

The 7-7-2 Witches are on the doorstep of state tourney qualification and Kristin Wyke, who excels on stopping breakaways, is the type of keeper who can make it happen "We haven't won a first round (playoff) game in my time, and (winning one ) is a goal of ours," she said.

Salem even has a set of cousins on the varsity: Karly Henderson and Darcy Theriault.

"Most certainly all these siblings contribute to the bonding. It's a nice element," said Doyle. "I've never encountered anything like this before."

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