One more night

SMAC holds first all-star game for se­nior soc­cer play­ers

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­[email protected]­news.com

Over the past decade, girls soc­cer pro­grams from the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion, com­prised of schools from Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties, have found plenty of suc­cess in com­bin­ing to win four state cham­pi­onships and pro­duc­ing an­other six state run­ner-up fin­ishes.

On Tues­day night at North Point High School in Wal­dorf, se­nior all-stars from those teams joined forces to bat­tle their Po­tomac Di­vi­sion coun­ter­parts, which make up all seven Charles County schools, in the first-ever SMAC girls soc­cer se­nior all-star game. Hunt­ing­town’s Mia Is­sac and Leonard­town’s Tah­janae Hof­fert both scored to con­trib­ute to the Ch­e­sa­peake’s 2-1 win over the Charles County squad.

“It was fun play­ing against the other girls. It was a nice mix­ture,” said Hof­fert, who was se­lected as the

Ch­e­sa­peake player of the game after log­ging a goal and an as­sist in the con­test. “It’s nice they put it to­gether for us to be able to play.”

The teams played a score­less first half, but Is­sac scored less than two min­utes into the sec­ond half to give the Ch­e­sa­peake squad a 1-0 ad­van­tage. Shortly there­after, McDonough’s Pey­ton Car­ney found the net to pull the Po­tomac side even, but Hof­fert even­tu­ally put the Ch­e­sa­peake ahead to stay with her goal with close to 16 min­utes re­main­ing.

Thomas Stone goalie Zakaria Holt, who manned the net for the Po­tomac Di­vi­sion in the first half, was se­lected as the Po­tomac’s top player after stymieing the Ch­e­sa­peake’s fe­ro­cious at­tack through the game’s first 40 min­utes.

“It was pretty good,” Holt said of the ex­pe­ri­ence. “Every­body chal­lenged every­body. You saw the true tal­ent out there. I had fun play­ing with every­body.”

Fol­low­ing the girls game, their male coun­ter­parts took the field for the boys all-star game. The Ch­e­sa­peake team took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Patux­ent’s Lo­gan Miller less than a minute in and went on to build a 3-0 half­time lead be­fore ul­ti­mately hang­ing on for a 5-3 vic­tory over the Po­tomac.

In ad­di­tion to Miller’s goal, Leonard­town play­ers ac­counted for three goals with Nik Koko­lios scor­ing twice and Lukas De­lany once, while Calvert’s Car­son Myles also tal- lied one for the vic­tors. An­drew McKnight of St. Charles got the Po­tomac side rolling with its first goal early in the sec­ond half, while Thomas Stone’s Ro­drigo Rosas and Lackey’s Evan Young also scored.

Coach­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake squad was long­time Patux­ent front­man Paul Gray, who is step­ping down from his post with the Pan­thers’ pro­gram.

“It was awe­some,” Gray said. “To be able to coach against play­ers, on both sides, that I’ve coached and watched for four years was awe­some. We had one lit­tle prac­tice and a warmup be­fore this game. To have the team come to­gether and com­mu­ni­cate, they’re se­niors and they’re here so they’re self-driven and self-mo­ti­vated, so it was so much fun to play. We had some great goals, great op­por­tu­ni­ties, it was a great squad over there [on the Po­tomac side]. It was a blast.”

La Plata head coach Chris But­ler, who headed up the Po­tomac coach­ing staff, offered a sim­i­lar as­sess­ment after watch- ing his squad cut a three-goal half­time deficit to 3-2 within the first six min­utes of the sec­ond half be­fore the Ch­e­sa­peake team scored a cou­ple to pull away.

“We told them, the coaches chose them be­cause of their com­pet­i­tive na­ture and the [Ch­e­sa­peake] side got up 3-0 and I told them, ‘We chose you be­cause of your com­pet­i­tive na­ture,’” But­ler said, ref­er­enc­ing his half­time speech. “I thought we had qual­ity op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half, we just didn’t fin­ish them.

“We kept on fight­ing, kept on plug­ging away and we scored two goals in the first min­utes and turned it into a game. After that, it hon­estly was one of the funnest games I’ve coached, one of the funnest games I’ve been a part of, in both the ca­ma­raderie amongst both teams and the skill level and the pass­ing and these kids have hardly played to­gether. The soc­cer in­tel­li­gence they had was re­ally ex­cit­ing. I had a great time.”

PHOTO BY STEPHEN PARKS

Mem­bers of the SMAC se­nior girls soc­cer all-star teams pose fol­low­ing the first con­fer­ence all-star game on Tues­day night at North Point. The Ch­e­sa­peake squad de­feated its Po­tomac coun­ter­parts 2-1.

PHOTO BY STEPHEN PARKS

North­ern’s Kait­lyn Parks con­trols the ball dur­ing ac­tion in the SMAC girls soc­cer se­nior all-star game at North Point on Tues­day night. Pri­mar­ily a goalie dur­ing her high school ca­reer, Parks played in the field for the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion in the game and con­trib­uted an as­sist to the team’s 2-1 win over the Po­tomac Di­vi­sion.

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