• 48°

Prep soccer: Salisbury's Miller signs with ODU

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Salisbury coach Matt Parrish is rarely seen without an Indiana soccer cap gracing his head.
The colorful hats sported by Parrish over the years have been gifts from the soccer-playing Miller family, which shares Parrish’s Indiana roots.
But Parrish may have a new fashion look next fall. Connor Miller, the Hornets’ 6-foot-5 goalkeeper, has signed with Old Dominion, a Division I program in Norfolk, Va.
“Connor has been super for us,” Parrish said. “His selection for the East-West All-Star Game is the pinnacle, the period at the end of a great career.”
Your rivals know you best, and when Central Davidson’s Chad Hench was named to coach the West all-stars, he immediately texted Parrish to ask if Hornets Miller and CCC Player of the Year Kenny Bonilla would play for him. Hench wanted them on his side for once, after years of watching them make things tough for Central’s Spartans.
Miller and Bonilla accepted, and they’ll be just the fourth and fifth players from tradition-rich Salisbury to appear in the summer showcase.
“It was a surprise to be selected,” Miller said. “And a very great honor.”
Miller got started in soccer early. His older sister, Emma, was a sensational player at Salisbury, scoring 30 goals in a single season.
“My sister was really into it and my dad was coaching, so it was natural for me to like soccer,” Miller said. “I could kick it pretty far, and that kept me interested in playing.”
And he kept playing.
Not just locally, but with the elite North Meck Development Academy team in the summer and winter months.
Miller became Salisbury’s starting keeper as a sophomore in the fall of 2009, and the accolades haven’t stopped flowing. He’s been named all-region three times.
In 74 matches, he produced 38 shutouts, and the Hornets put up a 66-5-3 record during his watch. There were three CCC titles, plus, of course, the 2011 2A state crown.
“All the physical attributes are there for Connor to be a fine college player,” Parrish said. “He’s got a cannon arm and a powerful leg, and besides being 6-5, he’s got the wingspan of someone 6-8. He’s got a third of the box covered.”
Besides the physical side of things, Parrish gives Miller high marks for the stuff that tape can’t measure.
“Goalkeepers aren’t always conditioning conscious, but when we ran sprints, Connor was at the front,” Parrish said. “He brings a lot of positive intangibles to the table, and I know how much all our guys respected him and trusted him to make plays behind them.”
Salisbury’s 3-2 overtime win against Carrboro for its first state championship always will be remembered for Emmy Turcios’ golden goal, but there would have been no celebration had the Hornets not rallied late in regulation against Cuthbertson in a third-round struggle at Ludwig Stadium 10 days earlier.
Parrish pulled Miller from goal in the final desperate minutes, and his throw-in led to a header by Turcios that produced overtime — and ultimately, victory.
“That’s one I’ll never forget,” Miller said. “I could always make that long throw-in, and it helped get us to the championship game.”
Parrish has his own glowing memories of that November night against Cuthbertson.
“We had good fortune on the road to the championship, but the Cuthbertson goal wasn’t luck, it was planned, something we’d worked on often,” he explained. “If we were down late, Banks Fisher was taking over in goal, and Connor was moving to midfield to give us a 6-5 kid who can run with anyone. Connor made it happen. The kid got it done.”
Old Dominion has been on Miller’s radar screen for a while. An uncle suggested he attend the Monarchs’ summer camp, and he’s been a regular there in recent years.
“One day, the ODU coaches came up to my dad (Owen) and told him that they really wanted to recruit me,” Miller said.
ODU coach Alan Dawson sounds elated to have Miller as part of a six-man class.
“Connor is a big goalkeeper who commands his box,” he said. “He’s ready to compete with our returning goalkeepers immediately.”
A strong student with a 3.97 GPA, Miller plans a career in engineering. But for now, he’s officially an ODU Monarch. He’ll report Aug. 9 and will join a program that was in the NCAA tournament last fall, falling in the second round.
And who eliminated the Monarchs?
No kidding. It was Indiana.

Comments

Comments closed.

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant

Kannapolis

Kyle Seager drives in winning run in first game as Mariners split doubleheader with Orioles

Local

City exhausts this year’s funds for Innes Street Improvements, Municipal Services District grant programs

Landis

Landis adopts amendments to Zoning Ordinance related to signs, Planning Board terms

Nation/World

Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death

Nation/World

Expert says cop was justified in pinning down George Floyd

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for Livingstone clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

Education

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes