CCBC Essex came within one win of making the NJCAA national tournament for the third time in four seasons in 2010.
However, that at Xavier University in Ohio in the 2010 NJCAA Division I Men's Soccer North Central District Championship.
CCBC Essex forward Mikias Teketele—a NJCAA Division I All Region XX Second Team selection in 2010—remembers how he felt after that loss and is confident that if the Knights get another shot at nationals, the result will be different.
“I know what it takes to play at the college level now,” said Teketele, a former Archbishop Curley standout who had 15 goals and eight assists last season.
Whether the rest of the Knights understand what it takes remains to be seen. Like most junior college programs, CCBC Essex—which went 12-6-3, including 9-1-2 in Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference play—expects to have about 14 new players on its roster.
However, with eight returning players, coach Richard Zinkand likes his team’s chances for competing for another Region XX title and getting back to nationals.
Zinkand said the team fared well in preseason scrimmages at UMBC and Salisbury and believes his team is ready to start the season, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.
“Expectations are always high here,” Zinkand said. “It starts with winning the region, moving on to districts and setting our sights on nationals. We have enough guys back that know the system, which should help as we bring the new guys into the fold.”
Among the returning players for CCBC Essex are defenders Ernest Jackson (Calvert Hall) of Middle River, Elton Joe (Digital Harbor) of Baltimore City, and forward Danny Baxter (Calvert Hall) of Parkville.
Newcomers to the squad include midfielder Miguel Medrano (Perry Hall), Lycoming College transfer goalie Mike Sevick (Sparrows Point), and midfielder Greg Bishop (Eastern Tech).
Joe, a NJCAA Division I All Region XX First Team selection in 2010, said building chemistry has taken some time during the preseason with practices missed due to Hurricane Irene and last week’s earthquake.
Still, he expects the Knights to be one of the top junior college teams in the state, especially defensively. Last season, CCBC Essex posted 11 shutouts, and at one point did not allow a goal for eight straight games.
“We weren’t sure exactly who we’d even have on the roster to start the season,” Joe said. “But we looked really solid during the preseason, and I like our chances.”