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Prep Soccer: Salisbury meets Carrboro today for state 2A title

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — When Salisbury’s 3-2 soccer win over Shelby was complete Thursday night, Hornet coach Matt Parrish told his kids to get a note if they wanted to ride home with their parents.
He got no takers.
“Every single one of those 20 kids was on the bus so we could come back as a team,” Parrish said. “Very cool.”
Wanna know what else is cool? For the first time in school history, Salisbury soccer is playing on the very last day of the season. At 11 a.m. today at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, the Hornets (23-1-1) take on Carrboro (24-1) for the 2A state championship.
After losing to East Duplin in last year’s East final, Parrish knows Carrboro is hungry. But so is his team.
“We’re a program searching for respect,” he said. “Locally, we’ve been good for a long time but we haven’t done anything regionally or been a Western state champ. These are two squads looking to make a name for themselves.”
Down 2-1 against Shelby, Salisbury turned to leader Kenny Bonilla, who tied the game with 4:53 left. But it was a hollow celebration as Bonilla went down with a knee injury after colliding with the goalkeeper.
Parrish said he immediately thought of the consequences of going to overtime without one of his stars. He didn’t need to worry. The player who replaced Bonilla, freshman Michael Brown, was about to have one of those Instant Classic moments.
Thirty-seven seconds after Bonilla’s goal — and with Shelby down two men due to red cards — the diaper dandy’s left-footed shot found the goal for the eventual game-winner.
“I think (Shelby was) so deflated giving up the tying goal, they were hoping to get to overtime,” Parrish said. “They were back on their heels.”
Brown was kidded by his teammates on the way home about three years from now when he fills out his Salisbury Post “Meet The Players” form.
“His ‘Greatest Sports Moment’ is already written,” chuckled Parrish. “Where do you go from here? They said he had to score one in the finals.”
While the school reveled Friday over the state-title appearance, Parrish was in a very serious mood. He was forming his strategy for Carrboro while wondering about Bonilla’s health.
“Kenny’s a little gimpy today,” Parrish admitted. “But I don’t think there is a rope, chain or shackle that can keep that kid off the field.”
Parrish said Carrboro was a very tall, very fast team.
“They have six to eight guys who can attack,” he said. “It could be one of those proverbial shootouts or a 1-0 type game — and that goal has to be pretty.
“Obviously, we’ve never been in this position before. I think nine to 10 ‘experts’ — and I use that term loosely — would consider us the underdog. In this particular case, rightfully so.”
As Parrish talked about today’s match, girls tennis coach Chris Myers stopped by to offer congratulations. His team won its fourth straight state title earlier this month. Dale Snyder’s girls golf team also won a state crown. The first words out of the mouth of football coach Joe Pinyan, whose football team played last night in the third round, was, “How ’bout those Hornets?”
Soccer has joined the elite teams at Salisbury.
“Football gets theirs, tennis gets theirs and golf gets theirs,” Parrish smiled. “Hopefully, now it’s our turn. It’s nice to be sitting at the table with those guys.”
Parrish should bring Michael Brown to the table with him. They can get an early start on filling out that “Meet The Players” form.

NOTES: Bonilla has 24 goals this, the team lead. … Bobby Cardelle and Emmy Turcios are next … Turcios scored the first goal against Shelby off a nice assist from John Grant.

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