Senior leading Salisbury women's soccer to new heights
Senior midfielder/forward Lydia Narum has become a dominant force leading to Salisbury’s best record through 15 games since 2007 (11-2-2, 7-0 CAC) as well as a leader on and off the field.
But her high school career featured more than just leading the offense.
Narum played seven games in her senior year at Gaithersburg High School. She recorded 11 points, nine goals and two assists before her team lost in the playoffs.
While Narum was playing midfielder/forward in high school, she was also training the goalies and loosening them up before every game. She played goalie when she was younger, and that previous knowledge helped her teach the goalies to be consistent.
During her last season, the starting keeper sustained an injury that resulted in Narum being thrown in. She said that the injury happened before the playoffs, and she was forced to take the reins in net.
“Our goalie got a concussion right before playoffs, so I got put in goal, because I was the one coaching her, and we didn’t have a backup,” Narum said. “We actually did very well after that.”
Narum’s favorite memory was being with her teammates and creating the atmosphere with her team.
When deciding on what college to go to, Narum had two options: American University and Salisbury University.
She chose Salisbury because it is just a two- to three-hour drive for her parents to come to her games. Narum also chose Salisbury because she wanted to major in biology, and American is more politically oriented.
Narum said that having a learning disability played a role in her decision as well. She wanted a class size that was small enough to have a relationship with all her teachers, and Salisbury offers that.
“With my major, the size of the school and having a learning disability, I couldn’t go to a really big school,” Narum said. “I needed an atmosphere where there would be, like, 20 people, all my teachers could know me and Salisbury has been the perfect fit while having a good soccer team.”
Narum has shined since joining Salisbury in 2016. In her first three seasons in the maroon and gold, Narum recorded four goals and eight assists for 16 points.
But Narum has truly exploded onto the scene in 2019. Through 15 games this season, Narum has already shattered her season-highs with eight goals and 17 points.
Her previous season-highs were two goals and six points.
Narum’s offseason preparation has helped her performance differ from past seasons.
Narum played with a U-23 professional team over the summer while training with one of her previous soccer coaches and working on strength and conditioning. She explained that those three factors helped her gain endurance and practice moving into this season.
“I was doing the three different things to where the pro team allowed me to play games with D1 players, so it was a fast pace, very quick and very urgent atmosphere in the game,” Narum said. “Strength conditioning just put me in great shape, which allows me to play that wide position, where I’m running from end line to end line … then training with my coach, he focuses a lot on shooting technique, so that helped in that area.”
In addition to her team-best eight scores, Narum has also started every game for the Sea Gulls in 2019.
Narum received the CAC Offensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 14 after tallying three goals in the week. In Salisbury’s 4-0 win over York College on Oct. 9, Narum notched her fifth and sixth goal of the season.
In its next game, Salisbury earned a 5-2 win over third-ranked Christopher Newport University. This was Salisbury’s first win over CNU since 2012, and it ended CNU’s 37-game unbeaten streak.
Head coach Kwame Lloyd said defeating CNU, where he formerly coached, was a big accomplishment for himself and for the team.
“You know, it’s been a monkey on my back for a long time. I was there for eight years and led that team to the Elite 8 appearance,” Lloyd said. “I always dreamed on Salisbury being ‘that CNU’ of Maryland, and it was just a process of building that team, having the confidence in the players and them having confidence in themselves.”
Narum is currently second in the CAC in goals (8) and ranks third in points (17).
Lloyd expressed that Narum has been a leader on and off the field and came into the 2019 season in the best physical condition of her collegiate career.
“She’s as fit as she’s ever been, she’s a leader on and off the field and takes care of the players away from the game,” Lloyd said. “I think she’s very tenacious, she can go for the 90 minutes, her fitness level is above standard, she wants the ball and is willing to move and she looks to be dangerous.”
Senior forward Julianna Boller said the Sea Gulls feel very secure when Narum is at midfield because they know how much work she puts in.
Boller said Narum's effort on every play makes her one of the driving forces on the team.
“It’s nice to know that she is back there, and we know that she will run down every ball, and she won't stop until she gets the ball,” Boller said. “She’s hardworking, she is always super motivated and always positive.”
Salisbury made its first appearance in the United Soccer Coaches South Atlantic Regional Rankings on Oct. 15. As of Oct. 23, the Sea Gulls sit in the sixth spot in the region with an 11-2-2 record and a seven-game winning streak.
By DANIELLE TYLER
Featured photo: Sports Information image.