Presnell to play at Catawba
By Ryan Bisesi
Unlike her cohort, Salisbury defender Karen Presnell won’t have to go far to further her soccer career.
But like her teammate, Presnell joins a Southern Atlantic Conference school, which has been the subject of several conversations between Presnell, a Catawba signee, and teammate Jenna Bryan, who inked with Carson-Newman earlier this year.
Two long-time teammates at Salisbury and through various AAU teams, they’ll be rivals when they take the field this fall, but that’s not to come between years of camaraderie developed.
“Catawba and Carson-Newman have always had an intense rivalry,” Presnell said. “But we try not to make too much of it.”
Presnell scored 13 of Salisbury’s first 17 goals to start the year, leading the Hornets to a hot 5-0-2 start that included a county tournament championship. She scored twice in the 3-0 win over Wheatmore Thursday night.
“If we’re to have success this year, Karen and Jenna [Bryan] are vital to that happening,” Salisbury coach Matt Parrish said.
Presnell had nine goals and seven assists in 2010, helping the Hornets to a 2A Central Carolina Conference crown and a second-round state playoff appearance. She says the Indians coaching staff sold her on staying in town.
“The coach really won me over and I really like the team and how they play,” Presnell said.
The 5-foot-10 presence in the Hornet defense was named All-County, All-Conference and All-Region each of the past three seasons. Presnell noted improving the leadership aspect of her game was a priority amidst a team party in the school cafeteria to celebrate the Hornets having two players sign. Among the decorative flair included both sides of a cake that featured half Catawba colors and half Carson-Newman colors.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had a dual-signing day,” Parrish said. “Two outstanding players and two outstanding players that get to be arch-enemies next year. The dichotomy of the whole day is fantastic.”
Presnell, who’s played in the backfield since her sophomore season has even taken over in goal in emergency situations.
“I think I need to be more vocal and be a better leader,” Presnell said. “Especially with the position I’m in. That’s what it calls for.”
The Indians were 7-8-3 last season and 3-4-2 in the SAC, good enough for sixth in the league. In 2009, Catawba went 13-5-2 and was 5-2-1 in the conference. Parrish says her lunchpail-mentality will serve her well at the next level.
“She’s more of a strong, silent leader,” Salisbury coach Matt Parrish said. “You can tell her to run through a brick wall and she’ll do it. She’s that type of player.”
Presnell, voted one of the top six players in the region last year, visited Brevard and gave UNC Pembroke a look.
“The coach really won me over,” Presnell said. “He talked about how much they really wanted me and how I could make a difference on their team.”