Elks fill holes with tal­ented, tech­ni­cal play­ers

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

The Elk­ton boys’ soc­cer team needs to re­place the reign­ing All-County Player of The Year, as well as two other key pieces from re­cent sea­sons.

The chal­lenge is not a new one for sec­ond-year head coach Josh Mar­ley.

“Over the last two years, we’ve grad­u­ated a num­ber of tal­ented peo­ple,” he said. “We’ve been look­ing at a few peo­ple who’ve been step­ping up for us.”

The big­gest shoes to fill are left by Player of the Year Brady Si­mon, a three-time All-County striker. De­fender Mario Moreno grad­u­ated with two All-County hon­ors and goalie Paul Salib earned it once.

Of­fen­sively, the Golden Elks will look to Serebe Ka­jubi to pick up the slack.

“He’s one of those core play­ers re­tun­ing from last year and this will be his se­nior sea­son,” Mar­ley said. “He’s a real tal­ented player, very tech­ni­cal and good on the ball. We’re look­ing at him a lot as far as a lead­er­ship role goes with this team.”

He added that Ka­jubi’s skill set is a strength most of the team pos­sesses.

“As far as strength goes, I feel like we’re very tal­ented and tech­ni­cal in the mid- field,” Mar­ley said. “I think, for the most part, the play­ers that are out there are going to be very tech­ni­cal and tal­ented, but it’s just a mat­ter of stay­ing healthy and com­pet­ing at a higher level. We’re re­plac­ing Paul in goal and we’re re­plac­ing a cou­ple of key de­fend­ers like Mario, but at the same time, we’ve had younger guys step up ready to fill that role. We’ll be young, but def­i­nitely tal­ented and ath­letic.”

Elk­ton won just two reg­u­lar-sea­son games a year ago. Mar­ley felt that team had too much tal­ent to pro­duce that low of a to­tal. This year, the Elks are de­ter­mined not to un­der­achieve again, de­spite min­i­mal num­bers.

“We have a tal­ented group, but not nec­es­sar­ily the deep­est pro­gram as far as num­bers and depths goes, so a lot of it just has to do with fo­cus, good train­ing habits, get­ting af­ter it in prac­tice each day, and if we do those things – lit­tle things – I feel like we can have some suc­cess this year,” Mar­ley said. “Over the past cou­ple of years, we’ve had tal­ented teams that have kind of un­der­achieved – def­i­nitely last year. I feel like this year, it’s about stay­ing fo­cused and kind of keep­ing our eyes on our com­mon team goals that we’re look­ing to achieve.”

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CECIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Serebe Ka­jubi, pic­tured, will help pick up the slack for the Elk­ton boy’ soc­cer team fol­low­ing the grad­u­a­tion of three All-County play­ers.

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