On the back of two great results for UMBC, two Retrievers: senior midfielder Sammy Kahsai and freshman goalie Ciaran O’Loughlin were awarded America East co-players of the week.
Sammy Kahsai, 22 and of Ethiopian descent, scored the winning goal against No. 12 New Hampshire Wildcats and assisted senior Gregg Hauck’s game tying goal against the No. 1 seed Maryland Terrapins. He is studying business technology administration. Kahsai thanks his award and recent successes to his teammates.
“It feels great,” Kahsai said. “Without my teammates, I wouldn’t be getting this award. It shows that all the work we’ve been putting in throughout the preseason till now pays off. I’m very excited, it’s more of a team accomplishment instead of just me.”
He spoke about the impact of he and the other attackers: “No [I didn’t change anything in my routine]. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time for the goal [against the Wildcats], and thanks to Gregg Hauck for converting on that assist of mine [against Maryland]. Just stick to the system [to keep our attack flowing]. Coach has been here for a long time, so we just better believe in whatever they tell us to do and just execute everything we do in practice in the game.”
With the team flying high and recently moving up in rank to No. 16 according to Soccer America National Top 25 recent rating, how high does Kahsai think the Retrievers can go?
“The sky is our limit,” he said. “We are playing every game day by day. I think this team can go real far, we just have to translate our practice into games.”
Kahsai, who prides himself as a family man, supports Arsenal football club and attended a college league in Alberquerque, New Mexico this summer with his teammate, senior defender Tom Paul.
Keeping up with the gratitude for his team, he sings high praise of fellow America East player of the week O’Loughlin.
“He’s huge! It is a pleasure to have a goalkeeper that can make big saves. Especially as a freshman, he has been fabulous.”
Ciaran O’Loughlin has also played a large part in helping UMBC to a No. 16 rank. He made seven big saves to keep Maryland at bay and made four saves to shut out the Wildcats. As a freshman, he is pleased to have integrated into the squad well.
“There is a lot of rookies…but it’s exciting to get the award,” O’Loughlin said. “As Sammy said, it has a lot to do with how we settle in, and how people make you feel, and the lads have made me feel welcome. It’s nice to get recognition [when the fans chanted MVP for me]. It is [great] … for people to recognize that I’m doing my job to the best of my ability.”
Ciaran, 20 and of English descent, supports Everton and plays FIFA games in his spare time. Unknown to many, he won the under-18 premier league playing for Everton back at home in England.
In regards to the clean sheet in the last game and the stamina of the defense, he said: “Yeah, I didn’t have much to do … and Sammy came up trumps with the goal. Motivation [keeps us focused till the end]. We are there for one thing only, to win the game no matter how you do it.”
In like of his teammate, he also praised Kahsai’s performance.
“He’s a bit of a character. All rounder, a nice hardworking lad, he knows what his focus and he is down to earth.”
Both players finished by saying the fans should expect more from them and keep coming to support them in future games. The Retrievers ended their bout with Binghamton in New York on Saturday with a 1–1 tie. They continue in conference play with University of Massachusetts Lowell on Oct 11 and Albany on Saturday, Oct 14 for their annual homecoming game.