Essex men end losing streak in the Knights Soccer Classic
It had been three years since the CCBC Essex men’s soccer team won a game in its season opening Knights Soccer Classic, a streak the Knights ended with a 3-2 win over Louisburg College on Saturday.
But Essex coach Joe Fiedler wasn’t completely satisfied; not after the Knights couldn’t hold a 2-1 halftime lead over Harcum College in Sunday’s game and lost 3-2.
“We didn’t play well in the second half,” Fiedler said. “We had two or three opportunities to score, and didn’t bury them.”
Essex took a 1-0 lead with 14:25 into the game on a goal by Clement Blamo (Dundalk) off an assist from Varmah Siryon (Dundalk).
The Bears tied the score with about five minutes remaining before halftime, but Trent Hofmeister (Fallston) scored in the opening
minutes of the second half to regain the lead for Essex.
Harcum tied the score with about 18 minutes remaining, and scored the game-winner on a counterattack with less than a minute left to play.
As mentioned, the Knights had a few chances to extend their lead during the sec- ond half, but were denied by some diving saves from Bears goalkeeper Andrej Vidali.
“We have a bunch of freshmen  on the roster, and the transition to junior college is really tough,” Fiedler said. “The speed of play is faster, the thinking is faster, everything is faster, and they’re having a difficult time adjusting.”
Two of the shots that were saved were made by Essex freshmen, and would likely have been goals in high school.
Against Louisburg, the Knights took a 3-0 halftime lead on two goals by Siryon and a goal from Blamo.
The Hurricanes scored twice in the last 18 minutes of the game, but were unable to complete the rally.
“We beat a good team on Saturday,” Fiedler said. “We schedule really good teams for this tournament, because you can’t get [four-year] colleges to come out and watch your games unless you schedule good teams.”
Essex, which entered the tournament ranked 19th in the NJCAA Division I rankings, has won five straight regional titles and returns eight sophomores.
“In a nutshell, if we can get the freshmen to adjust faster, we’ll be very good,” Fiedler said. If we don’t, we’ll struggle this year. That’s the biggest issue.”
The Knights’ roster also includes midfielder Henry Ortiz (Parkville), midfielder Gaige Robinson (Perry Hall), defender Robert Simms (Mount Carmel), midfielder Logan Funk (Sparrows Point), midfielder Adam Wise (Eastern Tech) and goalkeeper Josh Dickey (Dundalk).
Robinson, Simms and Wise are sophomores. Siryon and Blamo are also freshmen.
The next home game for Essex (1-1) is September 8 against Prince George’s Community College.
CCBC Essex defender Robert Simms (Mount Carmel) works against a Chris Campbell of Harcum College attacker during the Knight Soccer Classic on Sunday.
Gaige Robinson of CCBC Essex races Harcum College’s Dan McAlister for a loose ball.