Prep soccer: West Davidson 5, Salisbury 4
By David Shaw
It’s not easy to connect all the dots this early in the girls soccer season.
But Salisbury’s team of on-the-job trainees came close Monday, when they hung with one of the state’s elite teams before falling 5-4 to visiting West Davidson.
“If you erase eight minutes from each half, we win this match,” Salisbury coach Matt Parrish said. “But we just kind of fell asleep a couple of times, and it cost us.”
It also cost the Hornets (2-3, 2-1 CCC) their share of first place in the league standings. Seventh-ranked West Davidson (6-0-1, 3-0) remained tied for first with Ledford.
“We can beat them next time,” cracked sophomore Jenna Bryan. “We’ve just got to get it into our heads that we can. We need that confidence.”
There was plenty of that on display after Salisbury’s Katherine Heidt took a snap pass from Madison Kennedy and bounced a 15-yard shot into the lower left corner, providing a 1-0 lead just 12:15 into the match. It was a short-lived celebration as West Davidson tied the score on a deflection off a Salisbury player about 75 seconds later.
“We got all excited after we scored,” said Heidt, a forward on Salisbury’s sophomore-dominated team. “And they just took advantage of our excitement.”
The whole scenario played out again midway through the first half.
This time Heidt put on a ballhandling clinic, dribbling deep into the right corner, then emerging and crossing toward the goalmouth.
Once there she stopped and pumped a close-range shot past keeper Lauren Raby for a 2-1 lead.
Again, it failed to stick. The Green Dragons answered 1:08 later when senior forward Kristin Owens took a feed from halfback Mo Yarboro, deked Salisbury goalie Mackenzie Overcash and deposited the tying goal.
“We are fortunate to have a girl in Kristin Owens who was faster than any of their defenders,” West Davidson coach Chris Brown said.
Parrish, who also served as a sideline ball boy, dismissed complaints that Owens may have been offsides on the play.
“I was standing down there, running for balls,” he said. “I honestly thought two of our girls held her on. What happened was our defense misplayed the entry pass. A girl stepped to the left. The next girl stepped to the left. The third girl stepped to the left. And the fourth girl gets caught ball-watching. That left an established finisher all alone with the keeper. It was a no-brainer.”
West Davidson took command of the game with a pair of goals early in the second half.
Casey Darnell converted a point-blank chance with Overcash out of position just 50 seconds into the second period. Then, in the ninth minute, Owens scored her second goal of the night, converting off tic-tac-toe passes from Darnell and Yarboro.
“It seemed like we weren’t winning air balls, weren’t stopping first passes and weren’t possessing the ball enough,” said Kennedy, another sophomore. “That’s what killed us.”
Not so fast.
Salisbury drew within 4-3 when Sierra Davis scored off a well-placed corner kick with 13 minutes remaining. Darnell’s second goal came on a breakaway with eight minutes to go, and Kennedy closed the scoring four minutes later when she dribbled straight down Broadway and drilled a shot past Raby.
The final moments were equally exciting. Salisbury had at least two near-misses and dominated play down the stretch.
“It was a lot of fun,” Parrish concluded. “I always like to be part of a match where everybody plays hard and there’s no ill-intention. Everybody wanted to win and kept doing what they needed to do. We knew what we were in for tonight, and it was a good battle.”
NOTES: Salisbury had a 13-12 edge in shots. … The Hornets visit Lexington on Wednesday.