Ba­lo­gun se­lected as an All-Amer­i­can

SMCM men’s soc­cer player be­comes sec­ond in his­tory of school to get honor

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By COLIN STOECKER [email protected]­news.com

The sea­son for St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land men’s soc­cer con­cluded in early Novem­ber, but the awards for in­di­vid­ual achieve­ment con­tinue to fil­ter in in the wake of such an amaz­ing sea­son.

St. Mary’s fin­ished 12-4-4 over­all and 4-2-1 in the Cap­i­tal Ath­letic Con­fer­ence with the sea­son end­ing in a 1-0 loss to Mary Wash­ing­ton in the CAC tour­na­ment fi­nal. The 12 vic­to­ries marked the fourth 10-win sea­son in the last five years for the Sea­hawks.

The lat­est in­di­vid­ual honor went to ju­nior for­ward Khalid Ba­lo­gun, who was se­lected as a sec­ond-team mem­ber on the United Soc­cer Coaches’ NCAA Divi­sion III All-Amer­ica Teams.

Ba­lo­gun had 12 goals, seven as­sists, 31 points and 72 shots this sea­son. He earned his third-straight All-CAC first­team award after lead­ing the con­fer­ence in all of­fen­sive cat­e­gories.

This is the sec­ond year in a row that a Sea­hawks men’s soc­cer player has been se­lected for the All-Amer­i­can honor. Last year, the honor went to Juwan Kear­son, who was the first-ever men’s All-Amer­i­can soc­cer player se­lected from St. Mary’s in the his­tory of the col­lege.

Kear­son closed out his year as a four-time all-con­fer-

ence pick, earn­ing first-team awards each of the last three sea­sons. He started in 72 games in his time with the Sea­hawks, scored 17 goals, 7 of which were game-win­ners, and had 16 as­sists.

Ba­lo­gun and Kear­son were also All-CAC and All-South At­lantic Re­gion first-team se­lec­tions. The Sea­hawks pro­duced three other all-CAC se­lec­tions in ju­nior for­ward Josh McRo­bie, sopho­more for­ward Roshawn Pan­ton and ju­nior de­fender An­drew Kali­noski (a Patux­ent High School grad­u­ate from Lusby).

“For con­fer­ence I had first team for All-CAC and earned first team all-re­gion and was All-Amer­i­can too, so I was ex­cited,” Ba­lo­gun said. “49 peo­ple are se­lected, so it’s in­sane to think it’s 0.03 per­cent of of all Divi­sion III and it was a big sur­prise to me. I know it was a Fri­day night and my coach called me and I kind of knew

al­ready it was for All-Amer­i­can. One of my team­mates was in the room with me when I found out. All-re­gion, stretches from Maine to Ge­or­gia, so it’s all Divi­sion III schools.”

Ba­lo­gun added: “[Kear­son] was the first one to get it for the men’s soc­cer pro­gram, so it was sweet to get it. Our goal is to win the con­fer­ence ev­ery year and we could get the NCAA cham­pi­onship. I was talk­ing to my sis­ter be­fore the sea­son and I told her I could get All-Amer­i­can this year and I’ll keep work­ing hard for reach­ing my team goals.”

Ba­lo­gun was proud of the way that the team’s sea­son went, de­spite los­ing the CAC

fi­nal.

“The game was ex­cit­ing it could have gone ei­ther way, it was bit­ter­sweet,” said Ba­lo­gun. “Next year we will be back with a vengeance.”

Bal­goun and Kear­son fol­low in the foot­steps of St. Mary’s Ath­letic Hall of Famer and cur­rent head coach Alun Oliver.

“A long time ago, I had re­ceived all-re­gion, ju­nior and se­nior year, so it was ‘02 and ‘03, when I won the award,” Oliver said. “Back then we had a very good team, our team chem­istry was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic. When I took over [as coach] I wanted the team chem­istry to be good and bring in the right peo­ple to buy into what we wanted to do”

Oliver added: “We got rec­og­nized re­gion­ally and na­tion­ally. They are fan­tas­tic play­ers,

guys that credit to the hard work that they put in in the off­sea­son. They work on the craft and it’s a com­bi­na­tion of all of their hard work. They’re in­te­gral to the team and to our pro­gram. But they are thank­ing their team­mates first.”

Oliver has known Kear­son and Ba­lo­gun since their ju­nior year of high school.

“It’s been such a plea­sure for me to have them on the team,” Oliver said. “It’s re­ally great to have that re­la­tion­ship on the field and to have that per­son­ally. the big­gest thing was cre­at­ing that cul­ture and then its eas­ier to ac­com­plish goals on the field. It can be tough with­out hav­ing ev­ery­body brought in. The suc­cess we are hav­ing is at­trib­uted to great in­di­vid­u­als and team chem­istry that we have.”

STAFF PHOTO BY COLIN STOECKER

St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land ju­nior for­ward Khalid Ba­lo­gun was se­lected as a sec­ond-team mem­ber on the United Soc­cer Coaches’ NCAA Divi­sion III All-Amer­ica Teams.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land se­nior for­ward Juwan Kear­son started in 72 games in his time with the Sea­hawks, scored 17 goals, 7 of which were game-win­ners, and had 16 as­sists. Kear­son, who was se­lected as the first All-Amer­i­can in the his­tory of the school last sea­son, is now joined by team­mate Khalid Ba­lo­gun with the honor after Ba­lo­gun re­ceived the honor this sea­son.

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