SALISBURY — The 100th goal of Salisbury star Bobby Cardelle’s career was a Mona Lisa, a thing of beauty.
Cardelle’s direct free kick from a left-side angle followed a tackle of ballhanding wizard Zack Sukkasem, and his boot to the near post was as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel.
“We talked about what we wanted to do and decided I would take that shot,” Cardelle said. “Luckily, it went straight to the top corner.”
It was the perfect shot. It not only gave Cardelle a hat trick, it provided the exclamation point for Salisbury’s 4-0 victory over Lexington in the second round of the 2A state playoffs.
“What a goal that was,” Salisbury coach Matt Parrish said. “Bobby is the best finisher we’ve got, and that was the most important goal. We’ll take the PKs all night, but that goal kind of legitimized this victory.”
Salisbury’s 2-0 halftime lead came via PKs. Hornets Emmy Turcios and Sukkasem were knocked down in the box to draw penalties, and Cardelle drilled both goals. The first came 20 minutes before the half and the second with 14:27 on the scoreboard at Ludwig Stadium.
Cardelle against a keeper one-on-one is like having Larry Bird at the foul line in his prime. Those are automatic.
Having said that, Lexington keeper Rey Cuanas was pretty terrific. He stopped a flurry of excellent scoring opportunties by the Hornets (23-1) and kept Lexington from being blown away.
Salisbury’s defense was airtight and flawless.
“Their No. 15 (Patrick DeZego) gave us fits in the previous meetings,” Parrish said. “The focal point was shutting him down. We did that by adjusting some personnel matchups.”
Salisbury won CCC contests with Lexington this season by 6-5 and 5-2, but this time Lexington (13-11) never had a shot on goal.
“You never want to play a team for a third time, but Salisbury was really on tonight,” Lexington coach Tim DeZego said. “Defensively, they closed every door. Offensively, they kept a high-pressure attack going. On a perfect night, we could beat them, but not when they’re on like that. That’s a strong team with a lot of experience.”
Things got a little testy and chippy in the second half, as physical play escalated.
“It got heated, but I thought we showed some good composure,” Parrish said. “ No one did anything foolish.”
Turcios scored the final goal for the Hornets with 3:43 remaining. He’d been involved in several collisions, so it was a satisfiying goal.
“Lexington has some tough defensive players,” he said. “But I was ready to score.”
Salisbury moves on to Wednesday’s third-rounder with CATA of Monroe at Ludwig Stadium.
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