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Former men’s coach Galeano joins women’s staff, looking to bring over same high success rate

By DALLAS COGLE

Staff writer

No College of Southern Maryland program has been more celebrated over the last decade than Hawks men’s soccer, boasting four Region XX crowns, three Maryland Junior College Conference banners and, for the first time last year, finally attaining that elusive berth to the national tournament by winning the North Central District championship.

In punching their ticket to nationals, a strong case can be made that the Hawks’ victory over the country’s top-ranked Schoolcraft College (Mich.) in the district title game was the best win in program history.

The scoreless affair after 120 minutes of regulation and overtime sessions was decided on penalty kicks with the Hawks prevailing in 5-4 dramatic fashion.

Though the Hawks were beaten in both of their games at nationals, they finished last season ranked 14th in the country.

With the 2012 campaign set to open at 4 p.m. Aug. 31 on their home turf versus conference opponent Howard, the Hawks start the season ranked 17th in the country within the Division I ranks of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“It’s not that we have to,” Hawks sophomore midfielder Kyle Toepfer (Huntingtown) said of living up to the pressure of keeping his team a national power this season, “it’s that we want to. We’ve got something to prove. We all want to be on that stage again. It’s a great feeling. Coming back [this season], you have more energy. You’ve been there before [to nationals], so you want it back.”

Hawks head coach Derek Dyson added, “We’ve been looked at pretty highly for years now. I think last year was like the culmination of it all and turned a lot of heads in the community. I know a lot of club teams, their coaches are bringing them up here to watch us play. It’s almost like these guys are hometown heroes. They’re probably going to sign autographs for kids this year just because of the name that we’ve made.”

Sophomore teammate Ryan Garvin (Thomas Stone) knows just how difficult last year’s accomplishments of winning the region and district are in spite of fielding a team full of talent. He last played for the Hawks during the 2009 campaign when they fell for the third straight year in the regional final to rival Essex.

“I would love to repeat what they did last year,” Garvin said at Monday’s practice. “We have a great group of guys. It’s my second day and from what I’ve seen so far, I’m very impressed. We’re going to try to duplicate [last season’s success] this year hopefully.”

The men’s soccer team is not the only CSM outfit with lofty plans this time of year.

The Hawks women’s soccer program is on the rise under fourth-year head coach Adam Sanchez, looking to build off a solid 2011 showing when the team gave regional runner-up Anne Arundel all it could handle in the regional semifinals.

That 2-1 overtime loss signified that Hawks women’s soccer is no longer playing just to be a competitive, respectable team. But the Hawks females believe they can join the CSM men in being a contender in 2012, at least within the conference and regional ranks.

“Each year we’ve progressed,” Sanchez said about the Hawks during his tenure though they were 9-6 in his first season of 2009, 8-8-1 in 2010 and 6-7-1 in 2011. “Perhaps it doesn’t reflect that in our record, but the quality of our soccer, our style, has gotten better each year. My first year, we won a lot of games but our schedule was pretty soft and we didn’t have a chance in the playoffs. Since that first year, I’ve scheduled the best teams from other conferences. So last year, the teams we lost to, they only lost four times all year combined.”

He then added, “We’re not afraid to play anybody because we want to find out who we are.”

What better way for Sanchez to capture some of that same magic that has defined the CSM men over the last decade than to add the men’s team architect to his staff.

Former Hawks men’s soccer head coach Tony Galeano who was the Maryland JUCO Coach of the Year four times during his nine years at the helm prior to stepping down right before last season got underway is now an assistant on the women’s soccer coaching staff.

Sanchez sought the advice of Galeano throughout portions of the season the last three years. And now Galeano will be one of his right-hand men as Hawks women’s soccer attempts to add to its lone conference title won in 2000.

“I’m here to help Adam try to win a championship,” said Galeano, whose forte of recruiting laid the foundation for Hawks men’s soccer to rise to national prominence. “I missed coaching college soccer. When I left, it was only because of a full-time job and life gets in the way. It worked out [this season] and I’m excited to work with the women. That’s where I’m at right now.”

Galeano added about helping out Dyson on the men’s side, his former longtime assistant, “I’m always 50 yards away from Derek. So anytime I can help Derek, I’ll help Derek. He had a great year last year and the team didn’t really well.”

Dyson said, “The good thing is [Galeano] is such a resource. He’s a wealth of knowledge, and he will be out here helping me just as much as [the women].”

He added jokingly, “So Adam better be willing to share.”

Hawks women’s soccer is guided by co-captains Vania Stottlemeyer (Huntingtown) and Kaila Frazier (Stone), who play the midfield and defense respectively. The team also garnered talented transfer forward Alysse Houston (St. Mary’s Ryken) from NCAA Division I Loyola (Md.).

“We have a lot of new talented players,” Stottlemeyer said. “We have about 20 girls and we’ve been meshing really good. So I’m really looking forward to the season. It should be a good season. I’m just representing the team [as a captain]. I’m representing the players. I’m excited.”

dcogle@somdnews.com

College of Southern Maryland soccer previews

Men’s soccer

Head coach: Derek Dyson (second season)

Last year: 13-5-2, 7-2-1 (Region XX champion, North Central District champion, nationals berth, ranked 14th in country)

Athletes to watch: M Kyle Toepfer (So., Huntingtown), D Ryan Garvin (So., Thomas Stone), M Nick Holder (So.), F Steve Njike (So.), M Alex Rodriguez (Fr.)

Key personnel losses: M Samson Defergaing (All-MD JUCO, All-Region XX), D Dillon Gaffney (All-MD JUCO, All-Region XX), G Dameon Hayden, D Taylor Ross (La Plata)

Strengths: Dyson noted that the quality depth of the Hawks might be the best it’s ever been, and that’s saying something. The player total is in the upper 20s, as talent from the Southern Maryland region and the metropolitan area are joined by international products who continue to show a heavy interest each year to play for the Hawks.

In fact, Dyson is going to most likely be confronted with the good problem of needing to make a few cuts to trim his roster down to around 22. With the array of players comes plenty of versatility. There is plenty of youthful confidence among the talent-laden Hawks that last year’s success can be duplicated this season, especially among those that contributed to the national-tournament run in 2011.

Weaknesses: While this year’s depth is better than last year’s top-20 team in the nation, these Hawks lack some of the starpower of that 2011 club. Gone are dynamic duo Defergaing and Gaffney, whose voids will have to be filled more through a committee effort. This is also an inexperienced Hawks bunch given all the freshmen on the roster.

Coach’s comments: “I’m hoping for the best. Teams will be gunning for us as if we are the favorite [for the Maryland JUCO and Region XX crowns]. These guys want to come out and make their own mark. Maybe they don’t make it to that high mark [of a nationals berth]. They’re out here working just as hard as they did last year, so it’s a waiting game to see if we can [get to nationals again] or not.”

Key games: Sept. 14 at Rockville; Sept. 19 vs. Northern Virginia; Sept. 21 at Prince George’s; Sept. 25 at Harford; Oct. 13 vs. Essex

Women’s soccer

Head coach: Adam Sanchez (fourth season)

Last year: 6-7-1, 4-3-1

Athletes to watch: M Vania Stottlemeyer (So., Huntingtown), D Kaila Frazier (Fr., Thomas Stone), F Alysse Houston (So., St. Mary’s Ryken), M/F Erin Kelly (Fr., Leonardtown), G Kelsey Major (Fr., North Point)

Key personnel losses: F Lindsay Smith (North Point), D Amber Conway (Stone), M Erika Specht (North Point)

Strengths: Sanchez and his co-captain Stottlemeyer rave about the chemistry, which is a quantum leap ahead of last year’s team. The Hawks coach credits Stottlemeyer and her fellow returners with laying the foundation for such ideal chemistry where everybody is buying into the team’s goals this season. And the goals are set high for this program, maybe as high as the expectations have ever been with progress being made each of the last three seasons under Sanchez.

With the addition of former CSM men’s soccer head coach Tony Galeano to the staff as Sanchez’s assistant, the anticipation for a Maryland JUCO and Region XX contending run is only building. During Galeano’s nine years with the CSM men, his teams won three conference and three regional titles while being ranked in the country numerous times. The Hawks complement their chemistry with plenty of talented of players, headlined by Houston’s transfer from NCAA Division I Loyola (Md.).

Weaknesses: With no history of major winning, the Hawks still have to develop that culture in their program. They lose three quality talents from a year ago including leading scorer Smith. In fact, Smith was the Hawks top scorer the last two years. Specht was named the CSM Female Athlete of the Year for 2011-12 so losing her impact speaks for itself, and Conway’s experience and production will also be missed.

Coach’s comments: “This year we have the talent and the team chemistry is there that we can make it to the [regional] championship game. And we can challenge and play with any team in our conference. I think [this will be my best season], at least on paper. This year, all the pieces are there.”

Key games: Sept. 18 at Anne Arundel; Oct. 2 vs. Rockville; Oct. 11 vs. Harford

DALLAS COGLE