Dukes soccer program is growing

Published 3:09 pm Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cumberland County High School’s varsity coed soccer team has not achieved victory yet this season, but it has given Head Coach Ashley Blackwell plenty to be optimistic about.

“I am very proud of our team’s performance,” she said. “Since the first game, our athletes have demonstrated perseverance and growth.  Each game, I am seeing improvements and (am) excited about what they will accomplish as a team this year. My athletes have so much potential and many are first-year soccer players.”

The roster is comprised of 10 seniors, but Blackwell noted that only three of them played soccer last year. There are also two juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen.

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“Their dedication has been so important to the program, and they are determined to continue to grow and build as a team,” Blackwell said.

The team currently holds a record of 0-6, but it is enjoying some added strength in numbers that could contribute to long-term improvement on the field.

“I am excited to see our numbers increased from last year and to see the interest for soccer to continue to grow in Cumberland,” Blackwell said. “Out of my 22 players, seven returned from last year. That being said, we do have a lot of new soccer players, but they are excited and willing to learn the sport. I know our skill level and confidence with playing soccer will continue to grow this season. I expect to see my players compete and give it their all throughout the rest of our season.”

“Last year we ended on a positive note despite our record, and those returning players have mentioned multiple times we are continuing to improve each season,” the coach continued. “With our numbers growing and passion for soccer returning, I think we will continue to see growth for our soccer program.”

Standing out for the Dukes on offense this year is junior forward Jack Giles.

“Jack has demonstrated leadership on and off the field,” Blackwell said. “He is knowledgeable about the sport as well as the next steps to move the game forward.”

In the midfield, freshman Julian Sustaita stars.

“We are excited to see what he will accomplish on the field this season,” the coach said. “He is also knowledgeable and focused.”

In the center of the Cumberland defense are seniors Maria Olmos and Nick Overton.

“Nick and Maria are two returning players and captains,” Blackwell said. “They lead our defense and are continuing to help build our program.”

The Dukes return to action after Spring Break on Wednesday at 5 p.m., hosting Bluestone High School.