Zack Haussler, who graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland last year as one of the top goalkeepers in the men's soccer program’s history, has found his way into the professional ranks.
Haussler recently signed with the Harrisburg Heat, which play in the Major Arena Soccer League, a professional indoor soccer league.
"I am looking forward to experiencing my first season in the MASL with the Harrisburg Heat and to continue learning the game of soccer," Haussler said in a Jan. 24 press release by St. Mary's College announcing his signing. "The goal of my professional career is to reach my full potential as a goalkeeper and play at the highest possible level."
Haussler had 292 saves, 36 wins, and an 80 percent save percentage during his four-year career with the Seahawks. He was also a four-time member of the CAC All-Academic Team, a seven-time CAC Defensive Player of the Week, a second-team All-CAC selection in 2016, a first-team All-CAC Selection (2017) and was named to the Scholar All-Region Team.
"The SMCM men's soccer program and coach Oliver were essential to my development as a goalkeeper," Haussler said in the press release. "My growth as a player is a direct result of the quality of each and every one of my teammates as well as my coaching staff. Every training session I was surrounded by players who were not only extremely talented, but who would work harder than anyone I had played with before. In order to keep up with those guys I had to be at my best every day."
St. Mary's College head men's soccer Alun Oliver is proud to see Haussler move on to the pro level.
“I think its a testament to how hard [Haussler] worked throughout his four years at St. Mary’s,” Oliver said. “When we recruited him we knew he had a fantastic work ethic. We loved that about him. He’s a great person and team player. It was a no brainer with regards towards recruiting him. We saw some traits that lended themselves to go on to the next level after college, throughout the offseason and onto the field.”
Three other players have gone on to play professional soccer from St. Mary’s.
Jessie Roberts, a 1993 graduate, played a preseason game with the Arizona Sandsharks and was traded to the Carolina Vipers in the Continental Indoor Soccer League. Roberts played one year with the Vipers.
Ryan Olsen, a 2002 graduate, played two seasons (2002 and 2003) with the Northern Virginia Royals of the United Soccer League Second Division, notching six goals and four assists in 21 games played. Nicholas Tait, a 2017 graduate, played one season with the Baltimore Blast of the MASL Eastern Division.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have really great individuals in our program,” Oliver said. “Honestly it really has to do with their determination, hard work, and personality. We never expect it, but again it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Haussler was a four-year starter for the Seahawks, starting his freshman year after the senior goalie at the time got a preseason injury and extending all the way to last year.
“[Haussler] took his chance and never looked back,” Oliver said. “He was a massive part of our success not just on the field. He was a captain and leader. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Oliver keeps tabs on his graduates that go on to shine on other professional sports teams, and there is a sense of pride for Oliver in having coached them.
“I went up to see one of Nick’s games when he was on the roster,” Oliver said. “I want to try to get up to a Harrisburg game as well, having some ex-players play for them.”
Oliver added: “What’s interesting about it is that both teams are indoor soccer leagues, so it’s a bit of a different game, so as a professional it’s another level and an extra step up. It takes a level of discipline that they show during their college years as well, and playing against players that have a fantastic quality and perform every single day, and the two players that did sign showed some of the traits needed to get to the next level while they were playing for us. Hopefully they continue and have a successful career.”
Seifert named CAC player of the week
St. Mary's College junior forward Gina Seifert, a Northern High School graduate from Owings, was named the Capital Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for Feb. 11, the college announced in a press release on Monday.
Seifert averaged 18 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1 block per game in two wins for the Seahawks the previous week.
She scored a combined 36 points as the Seahawks defeated Mary Washington (Va.) 48-34 on Feb. 6 and York (Pa.) 81-78 in overtime on Feb. 9.
Seifert also got 15 rebounds in the win against York and four steals against Mary Washington in addition to one block in both games.
The Feb. 9 win ended York's 15-game winning streak versus St. Mary's.
Trailing 74-72, Seifert's layup with 35 seconds left in regulation would eventually send the game to overtime. Seifert scored the Seahawks' first four points of the extra period on two baskets, the second breaking a 76-76 tie and St. Mary's held on from there.
The junior scored 17 points, had 15 rebounds and added six assists.
In Game 2 of a doubleheader at St. Mary's on Feb. 9, the Seahawks men dropped a 73-72 decision to York.
St. Mary's trailed 71-62 with just less than 3 minutes left in regulation, then rallied to tie the game at 72 with 3 seconds to go after junior guard Justin Milstead hit three free throws after being fouled shooting a three-pointer.
York sank a free throw with 1 second remaining to account for the one-point win.
Milstead led the Seahawks in scoring for the third-straight game with 18 points. Junior forward Spencer Schultz had 12 points and 10 rebounds and junior guard Reggie Rouse added 12 points.