By David Shaw
For the Salisbury post
SALISBURY — As long as there is tomorrow, today is a starting point.
That’s the spirit forward Sutton Webb brought to her final season of women’s soccer with the Salisbury Hornets this spring. Three months, 17 wins and a dizzying tally of goals later, the May graduate added the Rowan County Player of the Year award to an already distinguished portfolio.
“It was an honor to represent Salisbury High School,” she said in a recent rushed interview. “But honestly, I never intended to break all those records. At the start of the year, I didn’t even know the opportunity was there. I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the season.
The list of players who had a better 2022 season than Webb isn’t very long. She finished with 55 goals, 16 assists and a treasure trove of accolades, including repeated recognition as an all-state and all-conference player. Most recently, she won the prestigious Central Carolina Conference Female Athlete of the Year award. In 64 games over four college seasons, she scored a county-high 137 goals — eclipsing the mark of 128 set by South Rowan’s Madison Henry — while running 800 and 1,600-meter races for the South Rowan track team. Salisbury and, of course, sharing that sunshine. his smile.
“Athletics-based tributes are easy to find,” said longtime SHS coach Matt Parrish. “A lot of people can conclude how good she is based on articles and news snippets in the Post. It is more difficult to know her as a person. She is humble. Gracious. Tenacious. And she doesn’t just pick her spots because she always goes there. Its wheels are still turning. Sometimes it’s cerebral, sometimes physical, sometimes both.
Parrish recalls first meeting Webb in the spring of 2019, when she arrived as a vaunted freshman midfielder. “The first thing I noticed was that she’s super competitive,” he explained. “As one of those people who, no matter what game or competition they’re involved in, their goal is to reach the top echelon. Only, she did it in a calm and unassuming way.
Parrish quickly learned that if you own a Van Gogh, you don’t store it in the basement. He inserted Webb as a coasting forward and she responded with 43 goals in her college debut.
“I would have been the dumbest human being in the world if I hadn’t put her on top,” he confessed. “We already had Lilly (Rusher) at the back, Piper (Muire) in the middle and Caroline (Cardelle) up front. But Sutton gave us the missing element: rhythm. She is very fast, with and without the ball.
This season, Webb’s sideline-to-side leadership helped Salisbury compile a 17-2-2 mark, a campaign that featured a 13-game unbeaten streak before ending in defeat. 5-0 in the second round at East Gaston in the 2A state playoffs. .
“Yeah, disappointing,” she said. “But the pitch was so bad you couldn’t dribble the ball. I remember I had a chance to get a breakaway and I took a throw-in and the ball hit a pile of dirt or something. Then it bounced back and almost punched me in the face.
Parrish provided additional information. “When the other coach showed up, he reached out and told me his name and said, ‘Sorry about the pitch.'”
“There were other times when I was marked and had a frustrating game,” Webb added. “But I was careful not to let it show because, after all, how does it help the team?”
To her teammates, Webb was always approachable and ready to brighten up any situation. Listen to Hannah Schmeltzer, the goaltender who has had 11 shutouts for Salisbury this season:
“Parrish was always telling us these silly dad jokes,” she said. “Some of them were pretty bad. But Sutton always had an answer that made them funnier.”
Schmeltzer, whose football career is over, plans to study education next fall at NC State. She is one of 17 Hornets who have scored goals this season. “We called ourselves the Hope Crushers,” she noted. “And Sutton made us leave. She gave us hope to be the Hope Crushers. She has that can-do attitude that made everyone around her even better.
This trait will stand her in good stead beginning July 7, when she reports to the University of Georgia, nearly two years after verbally committing to the SEC Intermediate Program. She will likely be moved to the back line and learn from the sidelines this fall. Undecided on a major, Webb narrowed her choice to pre-medical biology and/or sports marketing. His ultimate dream, like that of many others, is to play football professionally.
In the meantime, she will participate as one of 18 North Carolina high school players in the Clash of the Carolinas, scheduled for June 24-25 at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary. And she will continue to volunteer for the semi-pro Charlotte Independence team in the USL W-League, a commitment that has led to more than one hair-raising moment in the Webb family. She was even late for her recent graduation.
“I was a little late, but I wasn’t the last there,” she laughed. “The last two weeks have just been crazy. There was a week, a playoff week, where I played five football games in six days. On the seventh day, I had the state meet for the trail.
Rest assured that Sutton Webb will handle the future with aplomb, embracing tomorrow as it becomes today. She seems well grounded, ready to train and eager to improve.
“All I want is luck,” she said. “I just hope to have another opportunity to come out and prove myself. For now, I will keep working to become the best player I can be.
All-Rowan County women’s soccer team
Sutton Webb, Salisbury, player of the year
Hannah Schmeltzer, Salisbury
Brittany Vanhoose, West
Makayla Borst, Carson
Anna Mead, West
Summer Dockstader, South
Kyna Zaldivar, Salisbury
Sage Huffman, Salisbury
Izzy Banish, Salisbury
Salisbury—Sydney Hlavacek, Stella Koontz, Madelyne Lawrence
Carson Allie Martin
East—Tatum James, Karina Roberts
South – Cheyenne Hunter, Izzy Merritt
North — Daphne Robinson
West – Lesli Guerrero, Evelyn Kwitowski, Selma Mehmedovic