Prep Soccer Playoffs: Salisbury 3, Surry Central 0
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — If Matt Parrish and the Salisbury boys soccer team seemed fired up after the 3-0 win against Surry Central at Ludwig Stadium Saturday night, it’s because they’ve only spent an entire year thinking about it.
“It” being another trip to the state semifinals, the third of Parrish’s tenure, and a shot to play for the state crown.
It’s been a long time coming.
“Last year when we lost to East Lincoln in the playoffs, it was literally the next day that I started thinking about this squad,” Parrish said. “This has been the goal from the very beginning.”
Salisbury (22-1-1) got two goals in the first 20 minutes of action and held on as it will face Shelby in the 2A West final. Shelby edged East Lincoln 2-1 in overtime Saturday. It was the Hornets’ eighth straight win after a 1-0 loss to Central Cabarrus.
“I told the guys they had the opportunity to be the best Salisbury’s ever had,” Parrish said. “But to beat history, first you had to equal history.”
Salisbury defenseman John Canipe scored his fourth goal of the year two minutes into action and the Hornets led from there in a game that never seemed in doubt. Although it didn’t find the net that often, Salisbury controlled possession and the pace on the last game from its home turf.
Canipe, a sophomore, headed in a throw in from John Grant on the near side, using all of his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame to gain space. The following celebration showed the Hornets could smell a chance at vindication.
“We got a long throw in and John and I connect a lot on those,” Canipe said. “I always make my run near post and John throws it where I can get to it. I’m huge so I can get there.”
It was the second goal of the playoffs for Canipe
Surry (19-4-1), the top seed out of the Northwest Conference, wasn’t used to absorbing such a strong first punch.
“We’re a pretty strong team and we’re not used to going down that quick,” Surry coach Blake Roth said. “Credit to them, they didn’t let us get the ball on the ground. It looked like we didn’t even get off the bus.”
Salisbury outshot its guest 19-8 for the game and hit the crossbar twice. Surry went into halftime with only four shots on net. Salisbury keeper Connor Miller was stout in net as Salisbury got its third shutout of the playoffs.
Kenny Bonilla scored a goal off a scrum with 21:51 left in the half to make it 2-0. Bonilla, a senior, gathered a deflection and booted it past Surry goalkeeper Artemio Cortez from the top of the goal box. The 2-0 lead stood at halftime.
“Before the game, Coach told us if we possess the ball and play our game, we’ll be fine,” Bonilla said. “On long throw-ins or corners, they didn’t have any big guys to hit the ball.”
Emmy Turcios scored off a pass from Bonilla in the 58th minute to cap the scoring.
“That was kind of a dagger,” Parrish said. “At that point in time, we weren’t possessing the ball very well and giving them a little bit of life. Having that third goal was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”