• 50°

Salisbury girls soccer clinches CCC title with a tie

Salisbury girls win soccer title

Wayne Hinshaw/for the Salisbury Post
Salisbury’s Julia Honeycutt

By David Shaw

sports@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — It’s official. Salisbury’s girls soccer team is no longer some cute little side story.

The Hornets are Central Carolina Conference champions for the first time since 2011 — even if they had scurry through the back door Tuesday night to get there.

“It’s not the most emphatic way to clinch anything,” coach Matt Parrish said at Ludwig Stadium, moments after Salisbury and West Davidson arm-wrestled to a 0-0 tie. “Holding on for dear life. That’s a script that Brown and I have read before.”

Brown is West coach Chris Brown — the sagacious leader who coached the Dragons to three consecutive league titles from 2014-16. Their reign ended after two 40-minute halves and two 10-minute overtimes produced ever-so-many unforced turnovers, stray passes and missed chances — but no goals.

“Like any coach, I don’t like losing,” Brown said. “And this feels like a loss because we lost the conference.”

Salisbury (15-1-2 overall) had its 14-match winning streak snapped, but improved to 8-0-1 in league play. The Hornets close the CCC season at North Rowan today. West (14-5-2, 7-1-1) wraps up conference play against East Davidson today.

“It came down to us beating them the first time we played,” midfielder Julia Honeycutt said, referencing Salisbury’s 1-0 triumph in Tyro on March 30. “And in that game, we scored in the first three or four minutes, then sat back and defended the whole game. It was nerve-wracking.”

So was this one. West outshot the Hornets, 14-13, and created the match’s two best scoring chances. The first came with about seven minutes remaining in regulation, when West freshman Jennifer Lopez blasted a shot from the left side that eluded SHS goalkeeper Juliana Anderson (10 saves) and struck the lowest part of the right post — but the play was ruled offside.

“Our mentality was we had to win or tie to get the conference championship,” said Salisbury’s Ceci Cardelle. “We weren’t going to let them ram it down our throats, but they had some chances. We had to push forward, not sit back.”

West was doing all the pushing in the late going. Sophomore Cassie Riggs, a 20-goal scorer this spring, sent a crossing pass parallel to the goal line about a minute into the first overtime period. The ball wandered across the crease without being redirected. “It was a slotted ball,” Brown explained. “It’s soccer. You’re gonna miss some balls.”

Only 5:20 remained in the second OT when Riggs pushed a close-range shot that appeared to beat Anderson on the short side, but the ball nestled into the netting outside the cage.

“Each team had a couple of looks, but you’ve got to say they had the cleanest two or three opportunities,” Parrish said. “We were fortunate. Some of their fans thought that one was in. Some of our fans did too.

“We spent the first 60 minutes trying to be assertive,” Parrish continued. “After that, I told the girls, ‘We need at least a tie to get the result we want. If they don’t score, we get a tie. Let’s sit in and play defense.'”

So the Hornets defended like Banshees — watching West unleash an array of set plays, long throw-ins into the box and a number of well-struck corner kicks.

“We were defending, but still pushing enough that they had to defend us,” said forward Katie Bullock, Salisbury’s goal-scorer when the team’s met five weeks ago. “I think we scared them as much as they scared us.”

Salisbury’s best chances came when Bullock centered second-half passes to Emily Mann, who was thwarted twice by West’s defense and once by keeper Ragan Dalton (9 saves). And Cardelle nearly scored with 14 minutes to play in the second half when she lolly-popped a 25-yard free kick that Dalton snagged with outstretched arms. “A great save in a long game,” Cardelle said. “(Dalton) played her heart out.”

By the waning moments, Salisbury was clearly playing for a tie. “I defended so much, I was exhausted,” said Honeycutt. “But I think Bethanie (Stauffer) and Olivia (Dagenhart) handled their girls — out wide — very well. Everything out of the back was big.”

And nerve-wracking.

“They were coming after us,” Parrish said. “All it takes is that one play going in and we’re in trouble. One misplay, one handball, one anything.”

Brown, to his credit, made no excuses. “When you can’t score, you can’t win,” he said. “You have to tip your hat to them. One goal, a long time ago, was all it took to win the conference.”

 

 

Comments

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation