Look­ing for bet­ter re­sults in 2016

CSM women’s soc­cer has good blend of play­ers un­der first-year head coach

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Like the school’s men’s soc­cer pro­gram, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land women’s soc­cer team will play its 2016 slate un­der a firstyear head coach, but the young ladies who ar­rived for the team’s me­dia day on Wed­nes­day re­mained op­ti­mistic about the fall slate.

Hawks first-year coach Barry McGrel­lis could not at­tend Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion for a more pend­ing is­sue — his wife, Katie, was ex­pect­ing their first child. When reached by phone later on Wed­nes­day evening, McGrel­lis ad­mit­ted that his wife still had not given birth to their first child but he had am­ple time to speak about the Hawks.

“I think a lot of peo­ple might look at this as a re­build­ing sea­son for us,” McGrel­lis said, “but re­ally I think we kept the

sopho­mores that we wanted and we were able to find some gems among the fresh­men in the small win­dow of time that we had to re­cruit. It’s a smart group of girls that picks up tech­ni­cal things quickly. You can tell soc­cer was their first sport grow­ing up.”

McGrel­lis, who honed his skills on the pitch in Scot­land as a young­ster and later coached in the United King­dom be­fore mak­ing it across the At­lantic Ocean to the United States six years ago, re­mains op­ti­mistic that this year’s team can im­prove on its 4-3 league record of one year ago.

“I think last year’s team was prob­a­bly two games bet­ter than what their record showed,” McGrel­lis said. “So, we al­ways want to make things fun for the girls. They’ve been a great group right from the be­gin­ning. They learn quickly and they en­joy be­ing around one an­other. It car­ries over into how they play to­gether on the field and that’s a good thing.”

CSM sopho­more Tara Miller, a La Plata High School grad­u­ate from La Plata, hob­bled into and out of the col­lege’s gym­na­sium con­fer­ence room on crutches and bran­dish­ing a cloth wrap­ping on her left knee. Miller is ex­pect­ing to get the re­sults of a re­cent MRI on the knee later this week, but she re­mained op­ti­mistic through­out the me­dia day ses­sion.

“It’s re­ally been a great pre­sea­son,” Miller said. “We have a good mix of re­turn­ing play­ers and in­com­ing fresh­men who are going to help us. We def­i­nitely have more chem­istry than we did last year. My fresh­man year was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You get to see how much the in­ten­sity and skill level goes up when you get to col­lege.”

Fresh­man Jazmin Sum­mers, a Chop­ti­con High School grad­u­ate and Me­chan­icsville res­i­dent who plays for the St. Mary’s Soc­cer U-18 squad, has al­ready had to make a slight ad­just­ment upon join­ing the Hawks. Sum­mers has been ac­cus­tomed to be­ing the goal­keeper for her high school in club team, but this year she will start the sea­son as an out­side mid­fielder.

“Right from the first day, you could see that ev­ery­thing moves faster and you have to have a higher soc­cer I.Q.,” Sum­mers said, “but [McGrel­lis] has re­ally been push­ing us on con­di­tion­ing and the girls are great. We have all got­ten along re­ally well right from the first day. There’s more chem­istry here than I thought we would have.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF COL­LEGE OF SOUTH­ERN MARY­LAND

Col­lege Of South­ern Mary­land sopho­more Ju­lia Lesko, a McDonough High School grad­u­ate, looks for an open team­mate dur­ing a re­cent Hawks prac­tice as fel­low play­ers El­iz­a­beth Sch­wenk, a North­ern High School pic­tured at left, and Danielle Bowl­ing, a La Plata High School grad­u­ate pic­tured at right, pro­vide some pres­sure.

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