Skipjacks expand roster, increase competitiveness
Soccer team, up to 14 players, showing progress under Hagins
WYE MILLS The Skipjacks continue to add players a trend first-year head coach Reva Hagins hopes will eventually add up to victories.
"I see a lot of improvement since our first game," said Hagins, a former Chesapeake College men’s soccer player who is now heading up the Skipjacks’ program. "The guys have been working hard, our defense has been tightening up and we’re coming together as a team. We get stronger and stronger every game."
Chesapeake had only 10 players on the roster in the days leading up to last Saturday’s 11-0, season-opening loss at Community College Baltimore County-Essex. Hagins, however, said the team was willing to play the entire season a man down if necessary.
"I spoke with all of our guys before the season and they felt strongly we could do it with 10," said Hagins, who had 12 in uniform for Monday’s 7-2 loss to visiting Montgomery College/Takoma Park. The roster has now swelled to 14 including two of the college’s baseball players and a former basketball standout while the loss margin continued to shrink in Wednesday’s 3-0 setback at CCBC-Catonsville.
"What this team lacks in skill, they make up for in hard work," said Hagins, a 28-year-old South African who was a talented midfielder for the Skipjacks just a few years ago. "Everybody loves soccer, and every day they do their best. That’s why they’re getting better and better. We still have a couple of hard games in front of us, but after that I can definitely see a win down the road."
The recent addition of goalie B.J. Miller the team’s only sophomore, and the Skipjacks’ netminder two years ago has provided a huge boost, strengthening the team in goal and helping on defense as former goalie Cory Walters (Kent Island High) moved to right halfback.
"B.J. has really played well for us," said Hagins. "He had double-digit saves against Essex and Takoma Park, and he had three great saves against Catonsville. I appreciate the way Cory sacrificed for the team, moving out of the goal and helping us back on defense."
Hagins is now pairing Walters with Joel Roberts (Arundel High) in front of stopper Nathan Osberger (Saints Peter and Paul High). Benjamin Clark (North Caroline High) completes the defense alignment at sweeper.
"Our defense has improved so much since the first game," said Hagins, who also has Russian Sergey Komardendov and Easton High grad Nicholas Sealover available on defense.
Brothers Leonardo and Jun Tanaka (Kent County High) are playing left and center midfield, respectively, while Jeremiah Andres (Chestertown Christian Academy) plays at right midfield and Lee Adams (James Wood High VA) is the other center midfielder.
"Our midfield is starting to get organized," said Hagins.
Hasan Delice who has scored both Chesapeake goals this season and Justin Behre (Easton High) are starting on the forward line with Cory Wager (St. Michaels High) also seeing time up front.
Hagins, who was one of the older players and a stabilizing influence when he played for the Skipjacks, is now one of the league’s younger coaches.
"When I played, our players kind of looked to me as a leader and a mentor," said Hagins. "To now be able to coach kind of brings it full circle for me."
Notes: The Skipjacks play a 1 p.m. game at Frederick Community College Saturday and then host Harford Community College Monday at 4 p.m.
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