Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land fall sports ready to roll

Soc­cer, vol­ley­ball teams seek­ing re­gion suc­cess

The Enterprise - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @tblack­somds1

Play­ers and coaches from the var­i­ous Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land fall sports teams who con­vened in the gym­na­sium of­fices for the school’s me­dia day last Mon­day all ar­rived and de­parted with a keen sense of op­ti­mism.

Over the past two sea­sons, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land vol­ley­ball team has clearly emerged as the school’s best squad among the fall teams and firstyear coach Jenica Leonard is poised to main­tain that distinc­tion. Leonard takes over for Ash­ley Wolfe, who was the All-Re­gion XX and Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence co-coach of the year in 2016.

On Sept. 5, the Hawks were swept by vis­it­ing Mont­gomery Com­mu­nity Col­lege, 25-10, 25-19, 25-16. Leonard at­trib­uted much of the dif­fer­ence in the out­come to ner­vous­ness and com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sues, both of which can im­pact a youth­ful squad in its sea­son opener.

“There still young and new to one an­other,” said Leonard, a Howard Univer­sity graduate who coached last fall at Ge­orge­town Vis­i­ta­tion Prep School in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. “They’re still get­ting used to play­ing with one an­other. I thought part of it was nerves, but we still have some com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­tails to iron out. This team has a world of po­ten­tial and tonight was just their first match.”

Sopho­mores Rea­gan Tuia­sosopo, Sa­vanna Car­roll and Sa­man­tha Rerig along with fresh­men Kate­lyn Kluh, Shelby Mid­gett, Alyssa Wil­son, Gabrielle Wil­son and Zaiera Duck­ett com­plete the small, youth­ful Hawks ros­ter this fall. Tuia­sosopo dis­played plenty of power up front at out­side hit­ter, as did Duck­ett, while Alyssa Wil­son cov­ered am­ple ground as the libero on Wed­nes­day.

“We have a lot of goals for the team this sea­son,” said Kluh, a re­cent La Plata High School graduate. “But mainly we all want to keep get­ting bet­ter and keep work­ing to­gether with each other and our coaches so that we can hit all of those goals this sea­son.”

The CSM men’s soc­cer team wel­comed a new coach in for­mer player and alum Jake Shel­ton who is ea­ger to re­store the pro­gram to promi­nence.

Shel­ton was a mem­ber of the Hawks 19-1-1 team his fresh­men sea­son un­der for­mer coach Tony Galeano, now the men’s soc­cer coach at Prince Ge­orge’s Com­mu­nity Col­lege. CSM was thumped, 7-1, on Sept. 5 by North­ern Vir­ginia in its sea­son opener.

“We have al­ready hit the ground run­ning for the fall,” Shel­ton said. “I have a clear vi­sion for where I want to take this pro­gram and the play­ers who are a part of it. I am very ex­cited to see the suc­cess that will come to the CSM men’s soc­cer pro­gram.”

CSM got its lone goal with three min­utes re­main­ing when Ni­cholas Krisko sent a high shot that just found the left cor­ner of the net. Hawks goal­keeper Hunter Van Zandt was busy through­out the day, record­ing 11 saves on 18 shots. North­ern Vir­ginia’s last goal came on a penalty kick with just over six min­utes re­main­ing.

CSM first-year head women’s soc­cer coach Nina Duron, an as­sis­tant on the squad last fall, headed into the slate with 11 fresh­men and only one sopho­more on the ros­ter. But Duron is ea­ger to build the foun­da­tion for fu­ture suc­cess with this year’s youth­ful group and the vast ma­jor­ity of her play­ers this fall will be back next sea­son.

“My main goal this year is to de­velop this group into the best unit pos­si­ble,” said Duron, whose team opened the sea­son on Aug. 30 with a 6-0 vic­tory at Pa­trick Henry (Va.). “We have two very good goalies who are go­ing to com­pete for the start­ing spot each week and we have a lot of very good fresh­men who are go­ing to get a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence this sea­son that should ben­e­fit them com­ing back next year.”

One of those fresh­men, West­lake High School graduate Maui Gianan, will play one of the key sup­port­ing roles on de­fense for the youth­ful Hawks this fall and looked for­ward to the up­com­ing slate.

“Be­ing on this team is a lot like play­ing for West­lake,” said Gianan, who plans to at­tain her crim­i­nal jus­tice de­gree at the Univer­sity of Mary­land. “There are a lot of girls that I got used to play­ing against on the team, but now that we’re on all in col­lege, ev­ery­one here is stronger and faster. The com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing to be a lot tougher than what we faced in SMAC.”

CSM will have only one sopho­more on the ros­ter, Les­lie Gomez, and a bevy of fresh­men in­clud­ing Gianan, Kar­leigh Co­hen, Ta­mara John­son, Jor­dan Grif­fith, Kuerra Buerger, Jenna Purdy and Car­ley Hebb. John­son scored three goals in the win over Pa­trick Henry and Co­hen added two, with Gianan get­ting the other. Hebb made one save to earn the shutout.

CSM will have a coed cross coun­try team this fall that will com­pete in four meets and the lone fe­male on the squad, Sierra Walker, is ea­ger to find out if com­pet­ing in a hand­ful of 5K events over the sum­mer will trans­late into suc­cess dur­ing the col­lege slate.

“I com­peted in sev­eral 5K’s over the sum­mer and I want to see how those times will trans­fer over to the 6K’s in col­lege,” Walker said. “I def­i­nitely feel like I’ve got­ten faster and stronger over the sum­mer.”

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