SALISBURY — Salisbury soccer coach Matt Parrish preaches being ready when your moment arrives, and Landon Goodman didn’t sleep during that sermon.
Bobby Cardelle and Emmy Turcios had two goals each, but it was Goodman who produced the vital goal in Wednesday’s third-round 2A matchup.
No. 1 seed Salisbury won 7-1, but that’s misleading. It was 1-1 and visiting Central Academy of Technology & Arts had momentum late in the first half after a sudden shot stunned the Hornets and their crowd.
But with 3:45 left in the half, barely a minute after CATA’s goal, Goodman responded.
“Landon hadn’t been on the field 60 seconds when his moment came,” Parrish said. “He was ready for it, and he put us back on top immediately after they got the match level.”
Goodman, a junior, was at the right place at the right time, and his straight-on shot angled from left to right away from the keeper.
“It was my first playoff goal, so it was the biggest goal of my life,” Goodman said. “I got a chance and I was able to put it away. The keeper got a hand on it, but he pushed it to the corner. I was a little lucky, but I was just happy it went in.”
That goal changed an awful lot and allowed the Hornets (24-1) to regroup at halftime with the lead, even though CATA’s Cougars had held their own he first 40 minutes.
“As bad as we’d played, to get to halftime and still be winning, we felt pretty good about things,” Cardelle said.
Reilly Gokey’s tenacious defense was the bright spot for Salisbury’s first half, but it was an aggressive, offensive-minded bunch of Hornets who swarmed out for the second half.
Parrish had made one key strategic move, switching the standard roles of his two offensive leaders. He made Cardelle the distributor and Turcios the finisher, and the Hornets overwhelmed ninth-seeded CATA (17-7-2) with a four-goal flurry to begin the second half.
“When the ball is on Bobby’s foot, it’s on there like cement, and it’s hard to get it off,” Parrish said. “After the switch, we possessed the ball a lot better.”
Salisbury was scoring so quickly that it tallied twice while Parrish was chasing a loose ball across the track toward the coaching legends signs at Ludwig Stadium.
“They just let us have it, and we didn’t have an answer for what they threw at us,” said CATA coach Jay Niessner, a Catawba graduate. “At the start of the second half, they played the best 10 minutes of soccer we’ve seen all season.”
Turcios got the breathing-room goal that made it 3-1. CATA stopped two point-blank shots on that sequence, but Turcios is a scorer, and he toe-poked that goal in, fighting in the sort of traffic that you’ll see at shopping malls on Black Friday.
“I just saw the ball and did good work,” Turcios said.
Michael Brown was banging home a rebound for 4-1 moments later. Cardelle was dragged down in the box and slashed in the PK for his 102nd career goal and a 5-1 edge. Then Philip Simons, barreling down the right side, hammered home a goal for 6-1.
Turcios capped the scoring when he ran onto a beautiful feed by Cardelle like a receiver running a post pattern and finished with flair.
Cardelle got Salisbury’s first goal in the opening minutes when he whistled a rocket over the keeper and just under the bar after a cross by Simons.
Cardelle isn’t often left unattended, so he was surprised at the clean look.
“Emmy let the ball go past him, no one was around me, and the coaches like for me to take a lot of shots,” Cardelle said. “I figured, ‘Why not?’ ”
CATA didn’t get many scoring chances in the second half. That was due to the defensive presence of John Canipe, who missed the regular-season meeting of the teams because of an injury. Salisbury won that one 3-1.
“They didn’t have any film of John and I think that really helped us,” Parrish said. “John was a man, he was a monster out there tonight. So many times he got to the ball and disrupted just as a CATA player was about to pull the trigger.”
Clint Comadoll also stood out for his physical presence in the midfield, and keeper Max Fisher was sharp except for that one perfect shot.
“I told Max as soon as he came off the field there was nothing he could’ve done about that one,” Parrish said. “ You tip your hat and move on.”
Salisbury moves on to a home meeting on Saturday with No. 5 seed West Caldwell (20-3-1), a 2-1 winner over Newton-Conover.
Without Goodman’s goal, it would’ve been much tougher.
“After the first 10 minutes when we were flat, we really played well in that first half,” Neissner said. “We just didn’t clear that one ball and then our keeper just misses the save. We almost go to halftime 1-1, and if we do, who knows?”
“It wound up 7-1, but without Goodman’s goal, I’m not sure we win it,” he said.
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