Prep Soccer Tournament: Salisbury 9, South Rowan 1
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — No one knows how this season will end for Salisbury’s boys soccer team — only how it has begun.
The defending state champion opened defense of its 2A crown Tuesday with an unexpected 9-1 rout of South Rowan in the Rowan County Soccer Tournament semifinals.
“We lost a lot of good seniors from last year and we were missing some key players tonight,” SHS junior Bobby Cardelle said after netting four goals at Ludwig Stadium. “We just wanted to get out there and get the job done. It was a pretty good game considering we didn’t have a lot of people.”
Salisbury will chase its fourth straight county championship when it meets Carson at 7 p.m. Thursday. And it will do so without sniper Emmy Turcios — sidelined with a torn quad — and defender John Canipe, who is nursing a right knee injury and won’t be available until mid-October.
“We’re fighting battles we’ve never had to fight before,” said coach Matt Parrish, himself strickened with an undiagnosed case of walking pneumonia. “We’re injured going in to a season. Tonight was a night to find where we have needs and how best to fill them.”
First-year South coach Jamey Basinger said the Hornets “were ready,” and added: “They’re an aggressive team and they got to the ball quicker than we did. They took advantage of that.”
Cardelle opened the scoring before the match was seven-minutes old when he headed a ball past South keeper Tony Ramirez, a junior who pitched a shutout in the Raiders’ 4-0 season-opening win over East Rowan on Monday.
“My heart was beating fast all night,” Ramirez said after making 13 saves. “They were quick and they kept coming at me. These guys know what the game’s about.”
Salisbury had no problem finding passing lanes and open spaces in the first half, when it outshot South 21-0. But Ramirez kept the “No Trespassing” sign posted for the next 25 minutes, diving to make saves and deflecting shots out of the danger zone.
“We were wasteful of our chances in the first half,” Salisbury midfielder Zack Sukkasem said after contributing a goal and two assists. “Later we started putting more shots on goal.”
Once they did, the scoreboard turned into an adding machine. Cardelle settled a ball in the penalty area and pumped a 10-yard shot into the upper left corner for a 2-0 lead with 8:50 remaining in the half. Five minutes later freshman Christian Uribe took a pass from Phil Simons and scored off a corner kick. Then in the final minute Cardelle struck again, this time whipping a 15-yard grounder in the net to provide a 4-0 halftime lead.
South scored on its first shot of the game when Luke Jester bounced a shot past freshman keeper Max Fisher, who was caught in no-man’s-land on the play.
“Our one mistake,” said defender Spencer Dixon. “Once the defense and midfield started connecting, our defense picked up a lot.”
SHS responded with five unanswered goals, including Dixon’s line drive from the left corner that made it 5-1. Junior Nick Green closed the scoring with two goals in the last five minutes.
“Now we’ve got to worry about Carson,” Parrish said. “Thursday’s gonna be quite a challenge. Carson is a formidable opponent, to say the least.”
NOTES: Salisbury finished with a 34-3 shooting edge…Parrish lauded the play of defender Clint Comadoll, who came straight from football practice and played a solid match.