New Hawks Team Ready to Get Season Underway
Steve Campbell, head coach of the men's lacrosse program at College of Southern Maryland, has been eagerly awaiting this moment for more than a year. After the program was unable to field a team last year, Campbell found enough players to suit up as Hawks at the club level for the 2018-19 season.
"Stepping up to this level I think is a big challenge for me, but after missing last year and stepping out this year, regardless of what level we're at, I'm pretty excited about," Campbell said.
Campbell has coached lacrosse at various levels before coming to CSM. He was part of Calvert High School's program as an assistant coach in in 2003, and coached the Prince Frederick Eagles and Dunkirk Warriors youth teams from 2008 through 2015.
This year's squad is itching for their first bit of game action to show everyone what they are capable of.
Lots of local talent will make up the Hawks' roster. Sophomore midfielders Ryan Purcell and Drew Hyland were Northern High School Patriots. Freshman attacker Marshall Lanning attended Patuxent High School. Freshman defenseman Eric Ward and freshman midfielder Will Meadows both come to CSM by way of La Plata High School. Freshman attackers Eddie Vanover and Howard Matthews went to North Point High School.
"I think Ryan is more of a ball control player and Drew's a sniper," Campbell said. "So I think the idea of them making an impact on offense will be there." Purcell and Hyland are the only sophomores on the team.
This team is likely to experience some growing pains, however, as there are some newcomers to the sport on this year's roster. Campbell said his starting goalie will be freshman Caleb Schaffer, who has never played lacrosse before, "but he's picking it up as quickly as he can for that position."
Even though championships may not be in the cards for the Hawks this year, Campbell doesn't want that to discourage his players. He wants the focus of this season to be on development and effort.
"I think the expectation is just to be competitive," Campbell said. "If we can go in there and play with these guys, success will come. I'm not saying it's going to be this year, and I'm not a big guy on moral victories, but if you can walk off the field with your head up saying 'Hey, we had a couple better players than they did' than you know where your base is and where to build from there."
There will be plenty of opportunities for the Hawks to face tough competition and develop. Howard Community College, CCBC Essex, Harford Community College, and Anne Arundel Community College are powerhouse MDJUCO programs that CSM will face this season.
Campbell is trying to build a program that can consistently compete at the same level as the in-state opponents, and this is just the first step in that process. He even said he already has a list of four-year schools that have reached out to him to let him know they are keeping tabs on some of his players because of their talent and potential.
While they are here at CSM though, Campbell wants his players to grow together and form meaningful bonds that will last after they have moved on from this team.
"The big thing with me is to get these boys up the road," Campbell said. "The idea is to help these guys grow, mature, get a good education, and then take this game as far as they can go."
The first chance for this new Hawks team to put their skills to the test will come on March 2 when they travel to face Potomac State College of WVU with their home opener slated for March 6 against Delaware Technical Community College.