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Salisbury soccer falls at West Davidson

By Mike Duprez

The Dispatch

TYRO — West Davidson needed only a draw against Salisbury on Wednesday to lock up its third consecutive Central Carolina Conference championship.

The Green Dragons did a lot better than that.

Kallie Potter, Kate Cogar, Taryn Craig and Kailyn Owens each scored a goal as the Dragons dominated Salisbury, 4-1, on senior night at the Tyro Middle School field.

It could have been worse. Karmen Idol and Erin Newby both had shots hit the crossbar.

“It’s pretty exciting, especially for these seniors who came here their freshman year,” said West coach Chris Brown. “They finished 5-11-2 and I told them to keep hanging in there, that good things were going to happen.”

That was a message which sunk in with the Dragons, who are now 19-1-1 overall and 9-0 in the CCC.

“It’s unbelievable,” Cogar said. “We never thought we’d be here, especially after our freshman year. It’s amazing.”

West has outscored its CCC opponents by a combined 61-1, with the Hornets becoming the first conference team to find the back of the net against the Dragons in the 2016 season.

“It feels great,” said midfielder/forward Anna Rose Sink. “It really does. The team worked so hard this season. We tried to stay focused on the tough games. The whole point was to have fun with it. To take home this third championship is a great way to end my senior year.”

Salisbury fell to 16-4-1 overall and 6-3 in the CCC. The Hornets held West to a 1-0 game on April 11 in Salisbury but couldn’t contain the Dragons this time.

“I think that they just have more weapons in more places than we do,” said Salisbury coach Matt Parrish. “We have a counter-attacking team. That’s how we got our goal. We knew they were going to bring pressure all night. They have solid people at all three levels. They have more speed up top than we have in the back.”

The Dragons were speedy at taking the lead, too.

Potter stunned the Hornets by blasting in a 40-yard direct kick in the fourth minute, lofting the ball far post past Salisbury keeper Julianna Anderson in the fourth minute.

“I’ve been doing them since my freshman year,” Potter said. “My freshman year I was pretty good at them. Then I slacked off. So I set it up, took a deep breath and was hoping to put it somewhere on frame. Luckily, it swooped right down the back.”

The Hornets got the equalizer in the 15th minute when Katie Bullock sent a pass to sophomore midfielder Julia Honeycutt, who used her speed to get around two West defenders. Then it was just her and West keeper Ragan Dalton. Honeycutt sent the ball past Dalton far post from pointblank range to make it a 1-1 game.

Dalton, who had 11 saves, had to come out of the net and stop Honeycutt after a throw-in less than two minutes later to keep it a tie game.

West took the lead for good in the 36th minute when Cogar headed in a Newby corner kick. The Dragons were a threat to score every time Newby took a corner.

“Set pieces are very important in soccer,” Brown said. “Newby does a great job of getting them in there. Kate has three, four, maybe five goals off corners and Erin has about 30 assists.”

It was nearly a two-goal lead for the Dragons when Idol hammered a shot off the crossbar in the 38th minute but they had clearly seized the momentum.

The Dragons were also doing a better job of containing Honeycutt with strong back line play from Cassie Riggs, Potter, Cogar and Idol.

That momentum continued in the second half when Newby sent a pass into the right corner to Owens, who then sent a cross through the box to an unmarked Craig on the left. From there it was an easy shot for Craig, whose goal in the 48th minute increased West’s lead to 3-1.

Later, Dalton had to make two difficult saves on Honeycutt to keep the lead at two goals. In the first one, she used both hands to deflect a hard shot from close range and then had to thwart a header off a corner.

Owens applied the exclamation point by finishing off a long run by Newby. The tiny freshman forward/midfielder muscled her way past two defenders, forced Anderson to come out and then put the ball past the Salisbury keeper in the 77th minute.

It was the final regular season home game for seniors Cogar, Potter and Sink, who were honored at halftime.

West closes out the regular season on Monday at East Davidson.

Mike Duprez can be reached at mike.duprez@the-dispatch.com

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