Dajani scores two more as Skipjacks clinch winning season
WYE MILLS When first-year head coach Mike Moulton set a winning season as the top goal for his Chesapeake College men’s soccer team, it seemed rather optimistic for a program that was 0-12 last season.
Who knew then that Moulton was more of a realist than an optimist?
Moulton’s Skipjacks achieved their goal with at least two games to spare by edging scrappy Cecil College, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon. In the process, the Skipjacks (7-4-1 overall, 6-4-1 league) extended their unbeaten streak to a school-record six straight games.
"I told our guys right from the start our only major team goal is to have a winning season," said Moulton, who had less than two months to assemble a team after being hired during the summer. "I thought it was possible. We’ve spent the whole season looking toward that seventh win."
That seventh victory did not come easily against a Cecil squad that came into the game with a 1-11 record. The Seahawks nearly overcame a two-goal deficit in the final two minutes, with Chesapeake’s win still in doubt until Skipjack goalie Jordan Durner came up with an acrobatic save on a Jay Seydell shot with only 14 seconds remaining.
"Cecil just put up a great effort," said Moulton. "And it was a little frustrating that we didn’t play better. If you let a team hang in a game long enough, it gives them a lot of confidence and Cecil played with a lot of confidence down the stretch."
"We’ve been down a lot this year and the guys still keep playing hard," said Cecil head coach Scott Welch. "They’re a good group of guys."
The Skipjacks, however, eventually triumphed using what has become a dependable winning formula a multi-goal game from Mohamad Dajani and a little bit of help from everyone else. Dajani set up Pat Hambleton’s first goal of the season, erasing a 1-0 Cecil lead, and then scored his 14th and 15th of the year to twice give the Skipjacks one-goal advantages. Diego Hernandez (goal, assist) then seemingly put Chesapeake in control, scoring unassisted to give the Skipjacks a 4-2, second-half lead.
That lead was cut in half when Cecil’s Andrew Fetterolf scored on a direct kick with two minutes remaining. The Skipjacks then held their breath and watched the clock. Seydell, who scored Cecil’s first goal, would have tied the game with a second goal if Durner hadn’t saved his best save for last.
"Jordan just made a fabulous stop," said Moulton after Durner’s four-save effort.
"It’s a nice feeling to know we’ve reached our goal," said Moulton. "The kids have really bought into this for the most part. There were a couple of rough patches. I wanted to bring in a little more discipline and a little more physical play and there was just a little minor resistance at first but winning cures everything."
Now, the goal of seven victories has become something of a moving target.
"We finish the regular season next week at Rockville and eight (wins) would be fabulous," said Moulton, whose team will then play in the Region XX tournament.
Notes: After the game’s conclusion, Moulton and his players linked arms, strode over to the far side of the field where the fans sit, and applauded the assembled parents, relatives, and friends. "They’re an important part of our program," said Moulton. . . . Chesapeake defender/midfielder Josh Plugge returned from a knee injury after missing four games, but the Skipjacks lost left fullback Jake Windsor to a twisted knee that kept him out for most of the second half. Luis Ortega suffered a shoulder injury, leading Moulton to switch him from midfield to defense to limit the space he had to cover. . . .
Adam Heath joined Seydell and Fetterolf with goals for Cecil, while Brooks Newport had an assist for the Skipjacks. . . . The Skipjacks finished 5-3 at home by winning their final four home games. Chesapeake is 2-1-1 on the road this season.
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