Anne Arundel Community College men’s soccer team is facing a slew of injured players, but members continue to practice hard for their chance to compete at Nationals.
The team record now stands at 5-5-2 after winning by one goal against Cecil College on Sept. 28 and three goals over Westmoreland County Community College a day later.
After a tough 2-1 double-overtime loss to Howard Community College on Sept. 21, head coach Nick Cosentino said he was happy with the effort of his players, but disappointed in the loss.
“It could have been anyone’s game,” he said. “I was happy because we had guys playing out of position.”
The Pioneers began this season with a line-up of 23 players, four of whom are returnees from the last season, but the team is suffering a shortage of six players who were hurt during practice and games. The injuries vary from hip flexors to sprained ankles, but the impaired players are still on the sidelines supporting their team and icing their limbs.
Although the team has a lot injured players, once everyone is healthy the Pioneers should have a good chance in the playoffs, Cosentino said.
The team has two captains, Rob Engel and Ryan Scanlan, both returnees and sophomores at AACC.
“We’re trying to finish strong for the rest of the season until everyone gets back,” said Engel. “Hopefully we get to Nationals. That’s the main goal.”
Engel plays midfield for the Pioneers and has played soccer for six years. This graduate of Northeast High School has scored one goal this season, but says that that is not enough.
“Everyone is stepping up,” said Scanlan. “Injuries are bringing us down a little bit, but I feel that we should be good.”
Scanlan, a defensive player, goes between two positions, outside mid and outside back. His strengths as a player are his speed and his mean left foot.
The team has 18 freshman players varying in skill and position. One freshman who has helped the team is Tyler Simpson, the starting goalkeeper for the Pioneers.
Simpson is ranked fifth in the conference with 40 goals saved. This graduate of North County High School has played soccer since he was 5 years old.
“I think we’re a pretty good team,” said Simpson. “We’ve got a lot of potential. We’ve got a lot of injuries right now, but once we get everyone healthy we’ll be fine.”