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Campus News

July 24th, 2023

GC building women's soccer foundation


Brandon Jackson is building the Garrett College women's soccer program like a general contractor would build a high-quality house.

"I've got a good group of players who are going to lay the foundation for GC women's soccer for years to come," said Jackson of Garrett College's newest intercollegiate sport.

"It's very exciting – everyone's coming in on the same page," added Jackson. "These women are going to compete."

Jackson has recruited literally near and far to build the Lady Lakers, who are currently comprised of 16 recruits.

The squad has a strong local flavor, with seven in-county players and one from nearby Allegany High. Yet the team also includes players from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey along with international players from England and Spain.

"They all had to trust in our vision without actually being able to see it," Jackson said of building a program from scratch. "For example, I could show them where the turf field would be, but they had to picture it for themselves. I was selling them a vision of what it could be, and now that vision is coming true."

Five Southern Garrett High grads – goalkeeper Johnna Collins, defenders Keyara Rhodes, Amelia Holtschneider, and Annie Martin, and midfielder Natalie Warne– along with Calvary Christian alums Sydney Weeks (midfielder) and Evalee Baker (defender) make up the in-county contingent. Former Allegany High midfielder Sam Preaskorn adds more local flavor.

At the other end of the spectrum, striker/midfielder Courtney Milner is from Manchester, England, while goalkeeper Sara Lara is from Spain.

Other signed recruits include Pennsylvania's Allison Harrold (midfielder) and Skylar Miller (defender), West Virginia's Cara Stout (forward) and Madison Kirby (goalie), Ohio center back Cheyenne Zack, and New Jersey striker Haili Parsons.

Jackson said he expects to "complete the signing process" with up to three more recruits prior to the start of practice next month.

Jackson was also successful in recruiting a coaching staff. Nate Hensler and Ayla Wagers will serve as assistant coaches.

The team's first-ever regular-season game is scheduled to take place Tuesday, August 29 at 7 p.m. on the new, multi-purpose turf field currently being constructed on the site of the old baseball field. The Lady Lakers will be taking on region rival Allegany College of Maryland to kick off a 15-game, regular-season schedule.

"They're excited to play in the new turf complex," said Jackson. "And they're looking forward to making history."

State and regional recap

Harford Community College (13-5 overall, 7-0 conference) won the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference and NJCAA Division I Region 20 titles in 2022. Last year's conference title was decided when Harford edged the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex, 3-2, in double overtime.

CCBC-Essex (14-7, 6-1) bounced back in the postseason to claim the NJCAA Division II Region 20 title as well as the district championship, which qualified the Cardinals for the Division II national tournament.

Montgomery College (11-5, 5-2) and the College of Southern Maryland (5-6, 4-3) were the only other teams to post winning conference records last fall.