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Prep soccer: Salisbury suffers first loss

By Nick Bowton
Salisbury Post
Salisbury had every reason to be confident going into its CCC soccer match against West Davidson on Wednesday.
The Hornets were undefeated and ranked second in the state, and they beat the Green Dragons by three goals the first time they played.
Salisbury coach Matt Parrish doesn’t mind confidence, either. He just doesn’t like over-confidence. And he assigned that attribute to his team after a 3-0 loss.”Macbeth ó mortals’ chiefest enemy is over-confidence,” Parrish said. “Looking forward to claiming first place in the conference and breaking some records and all these other things, and we got outplayed. Absolutely no doubt about it.
“We lost 90 percent of the 50-50 balls, we couldn’t hold shape on defense, our forwards weren’t communicating.”
That about sums it up.
Salisbury (12-1, 8-1) still sits atop the CCC, but it played its worst game of the season with a chance to create more separation. Now West Davidson (13-2, 6-2) is only 11/2 games back, and Ledford’s only conference loss came to Salisbury.
The Hornets had ran through their conference schedule without much of a challenge until Wednesday. Lindsey Davis and Jamie Dagenhart scored goals with ease up top, and freshman goalkeeper Mackenzie Overcash hadn’t been tested too much since stepping in as the starter three weeks ago.
All of that changed last night, when Salisbury didn’t even get its first shot on goal until 17 minutes remained in the first half. By that point, the Hornets already trailed 2-0.
“Our gameplan was to come out and do what we did tonight ó try to score early,” West Davidson coach Chris Brown said. “Our forwards, I felt like if we got them on the outside isolated one-on-one that we could go at them a little bit.”
No player accomplished that goal better than speedy forward Kristin Owens.
Just three minutes into the game, fellow forward Casey Darnell found Owens open behind the defense on the left side. Overcash came off her line to challenge the play but didn’t get there in time, and Owens pushed the ball past her and scored on an empty net.
Sixteen minutes later, Owens again received a pass on the left side, this time in the penalty area. She somehow squeezed a shot between Overcash and the near post for a 2-0 lead. Darnell added the final goal when she skipped a 30-yard shot through Overcash’s legs.
Overcash replaced starter Sierra Davis three weeks ago, when Davis was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
“She’s in a very difficult position,” Parrish said. “Ordinarily, we’ve been able to get to balls that have taken some of that pressure off her. Well, tonight, she’s kind of staring down the barrel of the gun for the first time. Being a freshman, probably not used to that speed, probably not used to that power, she kind of faltered a bit.
“It’s to be expected for such a young player. She’ll come back strong.”
Overcash might have made a couple of freshman mistakes, but Salisbury has plenty of veteran players in the midfield and up front.
Those players struggled to get shots off much of the night, and when they did, Lauren Raby made save after save. The Hornets, who had played with a deficit only once all season, then resorted to kicking the ball long.
“Instead of committing to what’s worked for us all season and putting together pieces, using outside-in, inside-out, we were just saying, ‘Bam, kickball,’ ” Parrish said. “I don’t yell at them that often, but one of the things I yell at them about all the time is vertical balls ó that ball where they just send it straight up the gut, no purpose whatsoever, just blast it right down the middle.
“That’s what we started to do. … They played better than we did. They didn’t care one iota about the first game, and they came in here and took it to us on our home field.”-
Contact Nick Bowton at 704-797-4256 or nbowton@salisburypost.com.

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