Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2013
SALISBURY — Salisbury’s Clint Comadoll was the only player on the field without long sleeves on in a blustery, and at times, snowy Ludwig Stadium.
Fortunately for Salisbury, fortune favors the bold. It did Tuesday night in the 2A West boys soccer championship between Salisbury and Lake Norman Charter. An underdressed Comadoll scored midway through the first half to give SHS all the offense it would need in a 2-0 win.
“It was for good luck if anything,” said a bundled-up Comadoll after the game. “It worked, I guess.”
Salisbury struggled to assert itself but found the back of the net twice and will play for its second state 2A championship in three years. The Hornets will face First Flight at Dail Field at N.C. State on Saturday after winning it all in 2011. The Hornets (26-1) have outscored their playoff opponents 28-2 heading into the final against the top seed from the east.
“In a word, survival,” said Salisbury coach Matt Parrish of the game. “We just really struggled to do anything productive tonight. It seemed like we had the dangerous opportunities, but they had the ball most of the match.”
The Salisbury back line wore down Lake Norman Charter, who upset Shelby in the quarterfinal.
“They were able to possess the ball well,” LNC coach Justin Valenti said. “They’re a great team and I wish them luck Saturday.”
SHS senior Bobby Cardelle scored his 44th goal of the season with just under eight minutes to play to ice it. Philip Simons booted a corner kick to Cardelle in the goal box and the team’s leading scorer headed in his last goal at Ludwig. Cardelle now has 104 varsity goals in his career.
“I knew if we scored there, the game was over,” Cardelle said. “I got away from my marker and headed it. It was a great cross.”
The Hornets didn’t convert all their chances due to LNC and some of the worst soccer weather imaginable. Salisbury set a school record for wins in a season Saturday against West Caldwell.
The 10th-seeded Knights played much of the match without their top two players in Hunter Gregory and Will Silva, who pulled his hamstring last weekend against Shelby.
“Without your top two creative and fast forwards, it’s very hard to do,” Valenti said. “There was opportunities on both sides and we didn’t finish what we had.”
Emmy Turcios missed a chance early to put Salisbury on top but SHS would make up for it later. In the 23rd minute, Comadoll gathered a pass from Zack Sukkasem before momentarily losing it. Comadoll, 6-foot-3 and a linebacker on the football team, recollected control up top and buried it in the bottom corner past LNC keeper Christian Hall.
“I got tired of waiting on Bobby to score goals,” Comadoll joked. “Bobby had three guys marking him so it drew them away from me. Zach played a great ball over the top to me. I don’t know if it was luck or just pushing through.”
Salisbury goalie Max Fisher warded off his share of action in the first half and denied LNC on five shots. It was the 13th shutout of the season for SHS.
Two years ago, Salisbury beat Carrboro in the state final on then-sophomore Turcios’s golden goal in sudden death overtime. Comadoll and Cardelle were sophomores on that team as well. Junior Michael Brown, who scored a goal in overtime, was just a freshman. This year’s SHS squad boasts 10 seniors.
“I’d say we’re definitely comparable,” Cardelle said. “We have a lot more seniors this year and it’s a big deal. We’re really going to want to win it.”
“It’s almost like apples and oranges,” said Parrish of comparing this team with 2011. “You got similar styles but it’s hard to compare those teams fairly.”