New-look Skipjacks show promise despite youth
Dennis impressed with freshman-dominated team’s preseason
WYE MILLS New head coach Mark Dennis called this year’s Chesapeake College men’s soccer team "a fresh canvas ready to be painted."
Not only are Dennis and assistant coach Jeremy Vogel new to the program, but so are 16 of the 17 players. Midfielder Jake Williams (Queen Anne’s County High) is the only returner off a 2009 team that went 8-5-1 in Mike Moulton’s only season as head coach.
"I have to admit that I was a little stressed about filling the roster, especially getting a late start, but I am comfortable and optimistic with what we have put together," said Dennis, whose team opens its regular season Friday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Hagerstown Community College.
The Skipjacks showed promise in their only preseason scrimmage, earning a 2-1 victory over Delaware Tech-Terry Campus in a contest that Dennis said provided "much-needed confidence."
"We are young, but our field players are sound technically and they have really come together and bonded quickly as a team," said Dennis, who spent five seasons as head coach at Cambridge-South Dorchester High. "We’re also fortunate to have two quality team leaders in our captains, Jake Williams and Daniel Martinsson."
While Williams is from just down the road at Queen Anne’s County High, Martinsson is a freshman defender from Agnebergs Gymnasiet in Sweden.
"He moved here with his family from Sweden and just walked on," said Dennis. "He just kind of fell into my lap. He’ll definitely stand out."
While Dennis is trying to integrate players from six local high schools not to mention Sweden he said the connections players had before coming to Chesapeake are paying dividends. As an example, he mentioned the way forwards Collin Shepherd and Cody Reese, and midfielder Conor Thompson all Queen Anne’s County High graduates play together.
"Having Collin and Cody on the front line and Conor right behind them is a real strength for us," said Dennis. "The three of them work well together as far as knowing who is going to make the run and where to play the ball."
North Caroline High grads Max Martin and Jeremy Stewart, along with Saints Peter & Paul’s Cody Clough and Easton High’s Adam Remesch, join Williams and Thompson in the midfield. Five fellow freshmen St. Michaels High’s Jesse Zelinske and Taylor Deighan, Colonel Richardson High’s J.T. Nagel and Austin Patchett, and Dominic Ramos from Kent County High join Martinsson on defense.
Three goalies Lucas Hayman (North Caroline High), John Pellerin (Saints Peter & Paul) and Brandon DeShields (Easton High) are competing for time in the net. Hayman and Pellerin shared net-minding duty against Del Tech, while DeShields is just joining the team.
Dennis credited Chesapeake College Athletic Director Frank Szymanski and his staff for being instrumental in the smooth transition.
"Frank and his staff, Becky Fauver and Bill Faust, have been very patient and helpful to me as I have been learning my way around and how things operate at the college," said Dennis.
Chesapeake’s home opener will be Saturday, Sept. 11th at noon against Anne Arundel Community College.
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