Blake Girls Soccer Off to Fast Start Under New Head Coach


This past weekend couldn't have started any better for Blake's new girls soccer head coach Jenna Essenmacher and her Bengals.

Blake won both games at the Oakland Mills tournament, including a 3-2 triumph in the championship game against La Plata. It was a complete turnaround from the team's start in 2015, when Blake lost both of its games at the same tournament.

"We played how we practice along with an added element of first game excitement- controlled and intelligent," Essenmacher said. "Perhaps the most notable aspect of the championship game was how players maintained their composure. They held to the team game plan despite the high level of physicality, and even scored a goal in the 74th minute to take the lead."

The two victories has the team excited for Montgomery County play to start today when the Bengals host Poolesville. Blake is hoping for a better season than in 2015, when the team posted a 5-10-2 mark, including a 3-3-1 record in conference play.

In order for the team to continue to get wins, Blake will need Cimaya Duffin to maintain her form from this past weekend. Duffin scored four goals in the tournament, including a hat trick in the opener against Oakland Mills. A player who hopes to play in college, Essenmacher highlights Duffin for her work ethic, communication skills and ability to make those around her better. She's already formed a strong partnership with speedy and tenacious sophomore forward Geligne Franklin, who registered three assists during the weekend tournament.

Junior Brooke Boyd is another key piece in Blake's attack from the central attacking midfield position, where her technical skills and understanding of the game makes her a valuable asset. Senior winger Nicole Stock is also crucial for the Bengals, especially with her pinpoint set piece delivery capabilities.

The midfield is run by senior captain Emily Keegan and freshman Sydney Konzmann. The duo has worked well together and look to control the game for Blake with their positioning and passing ability.

The defense is experienced and filled with leadership. Senior captain Maggie Prokop is a versatile athlete that has Essenmacher hoping she can contribute to Blake's attack in addition to her defensive duties. Prokop's fellow captain Lindsay Bridegum is expected to be a steady presence this year, as is senior Allie Bartley. Freshman Malia Magbe rounds out the group, with her skills defending set pieces being a major part of her game.

Junior goalie and captain Alex Konzmann backs up the defense. She gives the defenders in front of her confidence by showing an excellent understanding of the sport combined with standout play.

While Essenmacher is excited about her team's individual abilities, the group will have to play as a team in order to enjoy a special season playing against touch Montgomery County competition. Thankfully for the Bengals, they've gotten a head start on that.

"This team is not made of a few exceptional players, rather a compilation of many hardworking, skillful, knowledgeable, players trying to obtain our season goals by doing so," Essenmacher said. "Every player on the roster contributes to the team."
September 7th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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