Fall sports season begins for soccer, volleyball, cross country



Riverhawks men’s soccer midfielder Armin Lugonjic (far left) and forwards Charles Warari, John Kenny and Silas Baker pose on a practice field on campus.

Dominic Salacki, Editor-in-Chief

Student athletes playing soccer, volleyball and cross country have begun the fall sports season and said they are excited to be back on campus practicing and competing.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team won its first match 3-0 on Sept. 2 with no scrimmages or practice games prior to the season opener. Overall, the team has logged one win, one loss and one tie this season. The next game, at Hagerstown Community College, is on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Coach Karin Victorio said the win against the College of Southern Maryland came despite limited practices.

“For these players to step out onto the field, in a game with very little game-like scrimmaging or practice, to perform the way they performed and to come away with a win and very few injuries was a good start,” Victorio said.

Defense/midfield player Sydney Klabnik agreed.

“That was our first time ever being on the field with each other [for a match],” Klabnik, a first-year transfer studies student, said. “I think that’s a good sign for the rest of the season.”

According to Victorio, the players’ strengths are their attitude and a willingness to work hard.

Midfield/forward player Ryann Brooks agreed. She called her teammates “amazing” and “cool.”

“These are going to be my sisters,” Brooks, a first-year film studies student, said.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team has two wins and two losses so far this season, and assistant coach Brent Orbell said he plans to make a strong run for the championship.

Forward player Charles Warari agreed the team can go all the way.

“I feel pretty good [even though] we’re still getting to know each other,” Warari, a third-year computer science student, said.

“One of the strengths I’ve noticed is our communication amongst the players,” Orbell said. “Everybody feels like they can hang out, they can do stuff together and become a singular unit.”

“We all hang out as brothers, as one family, as one unit,” midfielder Armin Lugonjic, a second-year health and exercise studies student, said. “I believe we’re just going to get stronger. We have very experienced coaches, and [all the players work] hard. I believe we have a really good competition ahead of us.”


The volleyball team had two back-to-back sets, losing 3-0 against Hagerstown Community College Sept. 8 but winning 3-0 against Howard Community College Sept. 9. The next match, against Chesapeake College, is this Saturday at 11 a.m.

Head coach Tanecha Rice said she feels good about her players this season.

“I’ve noticed a lot from the first day of practice up to now,” Rice said. “The chemistry is getting there and the communication’s getting better.”

Karen Bautista, an outside hitter, agreed her teammates share chemistry.

“I feel like we all really get along with each other,” Bautista, a second-year physical therapy student, said. “I’m just looking forward to playing with them this season.”

Sydney Harris, an outside hitter, agreed she is looking forward to this season.

“I just feel like we’re at the point where we can just focus on the game,” Harris, a first-year nursing student, said. “We’re doing pretty good in our warmups and drills so I can’t wait to see what the season looks like.”

Women’s Cross Country

Madison Palmer, a second-year environmental studies student, placed first in the women’s 5,000-meter race with a time of 21 minutes, 44.6 seconds at AACC’s opening cross country meet Sept. 3.

“I didn’t finish, timewise, where I wanted, [but] it was very exciting [because] I’ve never won a meet as an individual,” Palmer said.

Palmer called winning that race “exciting.”

“Saying that I was No. 1 was very cool,” Palmer said. “I hope I can do it again and [that] our team can hit first at least once a season.”

Palmer and first-year business student Jasmine Mauldin agreed they are looking forward to the rest of the season. The team’s next meet, in Baltimore, is on Sept. 25.

“My goal is to make it to the championship race at the end of the season,” Palmer said. “I know our team has a lot of potential to go far.”

Head coach Susan Noble said has noticed a lack of confidence in the student athletes after missing last season because of the pandemic.

Noble said she is assuring the runners that they “didn’t forget how to run,”  and they’re “not starting over.”

“[They should] “just go out and see what [they] can do,” she said.

She noted that the runners’ greatest strength is that “they are supportive of each other.”

Men’s Cross Country

Luke Jimenez, a second-year exercise science student, said he is looking forward to the bonding between his team and the women’s cross country team this season.

“I feel like all the girls and guys we have right now match really well,” Gimenez said. “I’m really looking forward to just making a great team culture [and] making a really great name for the women’s and men’s programs.”

Runner Grayson McMeen, a first-year general studies student, said he is hoping the four-member team will grow.

“Once we have our full team, [I’m looking forward to] just seeing how far we can go with it, how far we can push ourselves [and how to] work together to get it done,” McMeen said.

Coach Keith Bigelow said he is optimistic about recruiting additional athletes for “a competitive team.”

“We’re running a lot of these little meets, and winning and losing isn’t as important, [but] we’re competing for the region championship [on Oct. 30, and] we want to peak right at that moment,” Bigelow said. “I’m big on honing … their skill set, [and because] I’ve been good at doing that throughout my coaching career, I’m hoping to do the same thing this year.”