County Soccer Championship: Salisbury 3, Carson 0
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — There was no need for Salisbury’s boys soccer team to alter the blueprint Thursday night.
Even with a handful of new players on board and first-year coach Matt Parrish at the helm, the Hornets won the battle for possession and coasted to their third straight Rowan County Tournament title.
“We’ve made a seamless transition,” Parrish said at Catawba’s Frock Field, where SHS whipped Carson 3-0 in the weather-delayed final. “We’ve gone from a 32-year guy (former coach Tom Sexton) to a 10-year assistant who became a head coach.”
The changing of the guard has been a smooth one for Salisbury (2-0). Its defense limited Carson (2-1) — which outscored its first two opponents 12-0 — to three shots at goal, each swallowed by senior keeper Connor Miller.
“We’re just a new team,” CHS sophomore Fox Correll said. “They were bigger, more physical and played like they’ve been together for a long time. They used all of their advantages against us.”
The loss spoiled first-year Carson coach Noah England’s championship-game debut. A Texas transplant, he felt Salisbury’s advantage on above-ground balls was pivotal.
“They had a lot of muscle strength, especially in the air,” he said. “I noticed that every third or fourth pass they would put the ball in the air to where only their guys could win it. If we had been more technically sound we would have kept it on the ground. We’re possession-based and they’re more run-and-gun.”
Salisbury hit the ground running and opened the scoring on a terrific play just seven minutes into the match. Following a long throw-in by B.J. Woods, Turcios settled a baby pass from sophomore Bobby Cardelle, deked a defender and then twisted a close-range shot around Carson keeper Garrett Owens.
“I don’t care what level you’re playing on,” Parrish said. “You’ve got to come out big. You’ve got to score quickly. Even if you don’t, you’ve got to put shots on frame. You’ve got to show the other team that you’re for real.”
SHS defender Spencer Dixon offered more insight. “That early lead, it forced them to push up but we wouldn’t let them,” he said. “We kept pushing them. Our outside mids had a lot of success going down the lines. We tore up the wings.”
Salisbury’s second goal provided a keen example. Only 10 minutes remained in the first half when Saryee, positioned 20 yards from the cage on the right side, took a feed from Lucas Capito and rifled a shot past Owens. “That goal was big for us,” Parrish said, “and equally as devastating for them.”
Bonilla netted the night’s final goal with 15 minutes to play. “The forwards made a lot of good runs,” Cardelle said after contributing two assists. “We possessed the ball and made them play our game.”
When it was over — and Salisbury had gained its seventh outright county championship — Woods was asked how it felt.
“It feels normal,” he quickly responded. “We’re used to it.”
Sounds like a seamless transition.
NOTES: Salisbury, which shared the 2002 title with West Rowan, outshot Carson 13-3. Owens made seven saves for the Cougars while Miller posted his second shutout for SHS.
West (0-1-1) received a second-half goal from Junior Landaverde to forge a 1-1 tie with East Rowan (1-1-1) in the consolation match. ER’s Gaige Vandezand put the Mustangs ahead in the first half.
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