All-county soccer: South’s Corriher was a beast in goal

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 23, 2016

By Mike London

SALISBURY — South Rowan senior goalkeeper Cameron “Cam Beast” Corriher has a choir boy-look, but he also has a competitive streak a mile long.
“He’s fearless,” South coach Kyle Neal said. “You’ve got to be fearless, a little crazy almost, to be as good a goalkeeper as he is. He’s out there diving around at people’s feet, and they’re kicking.”
Corriher’s man-without-fear approach and emotional leadership made him the Rowan County Player of the Year for boys soccer. He helped the Raiders (5-15-2) achieve a measure of respectability in a difficult league where even the sixth-place team (Central Cabarrus) won a first-round game in the 3A state playoffs.
“It is a tough league,” Neal said. “I guess Cameron’s stat line says most of it. When we played the best teams in our league his save totals were just astronomical. I’d see a play unfold and say to myself, ‘Well, there’s a goal.’ But then Cameron would pull out this incredible save.”
Corriher was credited with 324 saves in 22 outings. That’s 14.7 saves per match.
“I think competitiveness is the biggest asset I have,” Corriher said. “Even when you’re playing against the great players like (Salisbury graduate) Landon Goodman or Colin Noone (Cox Mill’s senior star) you want to prove you can play with those guys, that you can be as good that night as they are.”
One of Corriher’s specialties was thwarting penalty kicks. He stopped half of the PKs he faced as a junior and was nearly at 50 percent this season.
“That’s not common,” Neal said. “But Cam has great anticipation and extraordinary reactions. He’s a shot-stopper.”
There were a lot of shots on frame for Corriher to stop. He had more than 20 saves five times this season, with a high of 26.
He closed his career with a 21-save effort in a loss to Robinson. He had 15 saves in a scoreless tie with Central Cabarrus and 17 saves when South beat Carson, 3-1, for the biggest win of the season by the Raiders, especially for the seniors who had never beaten Carson. He had 16 saves in South’s surprising 2-2 tie with Salisbury, a program that has traditionally smashed the Raiders.
“The Carson game was my favorite game this season,” Corriher said. “But that Salisbury game probably was our best effort as a team. That night we played as hard as we can possibly play.”
Growing up, Corriher had no plans to become a soccer standout.
“I was into football, basketball and baseball, like most people,” he said. “I never gave soccer much thought.”
There came a day in seventh grade when the China Grove Middle School soccer team needed one more body and Corriher’s friend Cole Howard, now a Carson senior, talked him into serving as goalkeeper.
“I didn’t have any cleats, I didn’t even know the rules for soccer,” Corriher said. “But I gave it a try.”
That was his first experience on the pitch, but Corriher opted for baseball, not soccer, as an eighth-grader. He was a slick-fielding second baseman.
In the fall of 2013, Corriher was a freshman at South. He went out for football, but that didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.
“I was telling two of my friends, Walker Joyce and John Fulton, that I didn’t think football was going to work out,” Corriher said. “They talked me into coming out for the soccer team.”
Corriher was the jayvee goalkeeper as a freshman, learning the game. His sophomore year, he debuted on the varsity.
“I learned a lot from coach Jamey Basinger those first two years, and then I developed some more the last two years with Coach Neal,” Corriher said. “Coach Neal knew I was pretty good, but he really pushed me to get better and to get the most out of myself.”
Corriher believes a turning point in his career came in September of his sophomore year when the Raiders lost to Salisbury, 7-0.
“They were so good,” Corriher said. “That game let me know how much better I had to get if I was going to have a chance at the varsity level.”
Corriher grew into a role as a leader of a program that added young talent this season and was determined to be more competitive.
“There were games when competing was the best that we could do,” Corriher said. “Some of those Cabarrus teams were just really talented. And our games with the Rowan schools were never easy. Everyone wants to win those games.”
While coach Matt Parrish did a terrific job again with the Salisbury Hornets, guiding them to their 13th straight CCC title in a rebuilding year, the Post recognizes Neal as its Coach of the Year for the strides that South made.
Corriher played with pride and had an awful lot do with those steps forward the Raiders took.
“Cam put it all out there for us, he played with passion, and he took every goal we allowed personally,” Neal said. “His voice was the one our young guys kept hearing and they fed off his emotions. If Cam was having a good night, if he made some crazy save early in the game to let us know we had a chance, they’d respond and they’d play their hearts out.”
Corriher, who is currently playing basketball for South, dedicates his player of the year honor to Larry Deal, the former South coach and athletic director who died in October.
“Coach Deal meant a lot to the South Rowan community and all the sports programs at South,” Corriher said.
Senior captain Adrian Figueroa, junior German Delgado and talented freshman Eber Tapia join Corriher on the all-county team, the largest contingent of Raiders in some time. Corriher, Delgado and Figueroa were all-region players.
Salisbury has the most all-county players with five. The Hornets were led by All-State junior back Pedro Cruz, all-region sophomore goalkeeper Jack Fisher, all-region senior midfielder Andrew Kalogeromitros and All-CCC performers Melvin Bonilla, a junior, and Bryan Garcia, a sophomore.
Carson has four players on the team — all-region senior forward Khalid Myers, senior midfielders Braxton Rogers and Raunel Vasquez and senior keeper Grayson Owens.
West Rowan also made real strides this season and placed high-scoring Cristyan Cabrera and Leonel Guzman on the all-county team.
East Rowan is represented by all-region sophomore forward Alex Kalogeromitros.
North Rowan did not compete in soccer this season.
Honorable Mention: South’s John Fulton, West’s Luke Hager, Carson’s Alex Ortiz and Salisbury’s Santiago Caballero, Luke Holland and Brandon Ibanez.