Prep Soccer: Hornets outscore Ledford, improve to 3-0-1

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Matt Parrish recently began his sixth season as head coach of the Salisbury boys soccer team..
Parrish’s record is 119-10-5 after Monday’s hard-earned, 5-3, non-conference win against Ledford, an old rival that currently plays in the 3A ranks but will be back in Salisbury’s league when realignment arrives in 2017.
Melvin Bonilla accounted for two SHS goals, while Jesus Sanchez, Brandon Ibanez and Andrew Kalogeromitros added one each. There was still doubt about the outcome when Kalogeromitros, one of the Hornets’ handful of veterans, delivered the clinching goal with seven minutes left.
“That was one of the most bizarre games ever,” Parrish said. “Every time it looked like we had taken control, we let them back in it. We’d get complacent, and then Ledford would run it right down our throats.”
Parrish already has coached three state champs at Salisbury in his relatively brief time as head man — odd-year titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015 — but this season may be his most challenging. The Hornets lost 11 of the 20 players who built a 27-0-2 record and surged to the 2015 2A title.
“When you’ve got three returning starters in basketball, that’s pretty good,” Parrish said. “But when a soccer team returns three starters, well, that’s a different story.”
Obviously you don’t replace All-State caliber players such as Landon Goodman, Cristian Uribe and Josh Lynch overnight, and the Hornets also are seeking replacements for a host of steady veterans who graduated.
Jamie Henriquez, returning to the program after playing for the Hornets in 2014, was being counted on at center-mid, but he went down with an injury that Parrish fears will sideline him for an extended period. That subtracted one more component from the puzzle Parrish is trying to piece together.
“We never like to say that we’re rebuilding,” Parrish said. “But right now, rebuilding is not an inaccurate term for where we are.”
Salisbury began the season last week with three games in three nights and tied South Rowan, 2-2, on the third night of those back-to-back-to-backs.
“A hot night and our third straight, and South played well,” Parrish said. “South has two exceptional players. The keeper (Cameron Corriher) made a ton of saves. I felt like we dominated, we had a lot of shots, but we couldn’t finish.”
Salisbury’s first action since the South tie came against Ledford.
The Hornets got down, 1-0, but took a 2-1 halftime lead on goals by Bonilla, one of the veterans, and Sanchez.
A header by Ibanez provided a 3-1 advantage, and that’s usually when it’s all over against the Hornets. But Ledford got back to 3-2. After Bonilla padded the lead to 4-2 on a penalty kick, Ledford (1-3) still wasn’t done and fought back to a 4-3 deficit.
“Ledford scored two beautiful goals (by Luis Turcios and Christian Romero) to get back in the match,” Parrish said. “We’ve got five guys that are new or are playing new positions in our back six, and we’re getting burned right now on set pieces. It’s something we’ll work on.”
Pedro Cruz is the most familiar name among the defenders. He got carded with 24 minutes left and Parrish sat him down for about 10 minutes.
“Usually, one of our kids gets carded, we’ll sit him and let him think about it a lot longer than that,” Parrish said.
Cruz went back in and played well, and the Hornets may not have won without him.
Bryan Cortez had two assists for the Hornets. Nick Veros and Kalogeromitros had one apiece.
“We’re 3-0-1 right now, and all things considered, that’s not too bad,” Parrish said.
Salisbury will take on 4A Mooresville at home on Thursday. Mooresville (2-1) won against Davie County and North Meck and dropped a 3-2 decision to Cox Mill.