Look­ing to take the next step

St. Charles a year older, wiser for 2016

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

Af­ter go­ing win­less in its in­au­gu­ral sea­son two years ago, the St. Charles High School boys soc­cer team made strides in 2015, fin­ish­ing with five wins.

This sea­son with eight re­turn­ing starters back in the lineup, head coach Matt Chisholm and the Spar­tans are look­ing to take the next step.

“We did well in the county last sea­son, but we’ve never beaten an out-of-county op­po­nent so we want to com­pete with the St. Mary’s and the Calvert County teams,” Chisholm said. Four of his team’s wins came against county foes, while be­ing shutout five times by out-of-county teams. “This year we want to take it game by game and don’t want to look ahead. We know how good the teams are in the con­fer­ence.”

Chisholm added that the first year of the pro­gram was try­ing to build num­bers on the team and last sea­son it was about search­ing for wins.

“It is just a mat­ter of us tak­ing things in stride and what is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent this year is that there will be games that we ex­pect to win, where that never used to be the case,” he said. “It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how they han­dle the ex­pec­ta­tion of win­ning. When it is 0-0 in sec­ond half or you are trail­ing in the sec­ond half, we will have to ad­just to that.”

Of the 18 play­ers on St. Charles’ ros­ter, Chisholm said 11 were on var­sity as fresh­men in the pro­gram’s first sea­son. Af­ter tough two sea­sons, the Spar­tans will fea­ture a bevy of promis­ing tal­ent with 10 ju­niors, six se­niors, a fresh­man and a sopho­more while look­ing to move up within the con­fer­ence ranks.

Re­turn­ing for the Spar­tans at the striker po­si­tion is the team’s lead­ing scorer last sea­son in ju­nior Jo­sue Funes, who is joined by ju­nior team­mate Drew Carter. The mid­field is ju­nior-laden with Roy Hen­der­son, CJ Nunn, Jon Moss and Tay­lor Thompson.

“We have a lot of ju­niors, but we are still a young team and it is go­ing to come down to ex­e­cu­tion and work­ing hard as a unit like we do in prac­tice,” Hen­der­son said. “As you can see we have been work­ing a lot on our touch, but our strength is our team chem­istry. A lot of play­ers on this team have been on here for three years, so we are re­ally locked in like a fam­ily bond.”

Se­nior Tommy Sny­der, who will be en­ter­ing his third year as a starter, will re­turn as the team’s sweeper and an­chor­ing the de­fense is ju­nior Kle Wood.

Se­nior goal­keeper Kyle Frye is elated to be back with the soc­cer team af­ter not play­ing his ju­nior sea­son.

“Ob­vi­ously this is my first year back with the team and I have high stan­dards for this team,” Frye said. “We all jell per­fectly and I feel that we can do re­ally well this year. We bring back a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and have some tal­ent.”

On what he has been work­ing on in the off­sea­son, he said, “I’ve been work­ing on dis­tri­bu­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. And body po­si­tion­ing is go­ing to be key also, just nor­mal fun­da­men­tals that you need to know in the goalie box.”

St. Charles had its first out-of-county test Fri­day evening with its sea­son opener at Great Mills, a 1-0 loss with the lone goal com­ing with six minutes left in reg­u­la­tion. The Spar­tans next con­test is also out of the county, a sched­uled 6 p.m. kick­off at Class 3A South Re­gion cham­pion Hunt­ing­town.

Ju­nior Jeremiah Allen, left, de­fends ju­nior team­mate Tay­lor Thompson in a drill dur­ing a re­cent prac­tice as St. Charles pre­pared for the reg­u­lar sea­son.

STAFF PHOTOS BY AJ MA­SON

St. Charles ju­nior striker Jo­sue Funes re­turns as the boys soc­cer team’s pri­mary scor­ers for the 2016 sea­son.

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