Carter Chesney knew his role would be different entering his senior season with South Carroll’s boys soccer team.
The Cavaliers graduated the county’s leading scorer in Nick Simoncini, and their new makeup looked to feature Chesney as the team’s go-to guy on offense. The forward wasn’t a stranger to scoring, but this year looked to be challenging.
SC coach Ed Wharton said he saw Chesney’s ability to assume his new role midway through last season, when he served as assistant to Tim Novotny.
“You could see that drive in Carter. He always wanted to be one better,” Wharton said. “Not better than Nick, but just one better than himself. He was always putting pressure on himself to do more, to be better. ... Even Tim and I had conversations, like, ‘I wonder how many goals he’s going to score [next] year?’ To see him do what he did was still amazing.”
Chesney scored in every game this season, finished with a new Carroll County scoring record, and earned Times Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Former Century striker David Neuberth set the previous mark with 23 goals in 2007, then believed to be the most from a public-school player in a season. Many top-notch county players have flirted with that number in recent years, but Chesney found a way to surpass it despite facing his share of swarming defenses.
Credit some added muscle and increased speed, Wharton said. Chesney pointed to Simoncini’s absence as a key.
“I knew coming in that I was going to be either man-marked or have two men on me for an entire game,” Chesney said. “I just had to take advantage of every scoring opportunity that I had. I just had to put the ball in the back of the net every time I had it.”
He totaled 10 goals and 23 points as a junior, good for a share of fifth among the county’s scoring leaders. Chesney entered 2019 as Carroll’s returning leading scorer, which carried a bull’s-eye. No matter, as it turned out.
Chesney had a five-goal game during the regular season (a 7-0 win over Frederick). He scored three times in a 6-0 victory over Winters Mill. His goal was the difference in SC’s season-opening 1-0 win over Long Reach, and against Glenelg on Oct. 23 in the Class 2A West regional quarterfinals.
Chesney scored again in South Carroll’s 2-1 overtime loss to Century in the region semifinals, giving him 24 goals and 50 points. He earned second-team all-state honors from the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer, the lone Carroll player to receive such recognition.
“It’s that part of a player, especially with his role as a striker, where you have to be a selfish player. And not in a bad way,” Wharton said. “You have to be able to want that responsibility where your job is to go score goals. Once you get the ball in an attack position, your first instinct is, where can I score? How can I get to the goal? That has to be your first instinct, and it always is with Carter.”
Wharton said Chesney dropped into the defensive third when the Cavs needed the extra body, but as soon as the ball crossed midfield his eyes were up and looking to score. Quickness gave him a chance to create space within an opponent’s defense, and Chesney’s footwork made him a threat to convert from just about anywhere on the field.
“The confidence he has is phenomenal,” Wharton said.
Chesney is taking that confidence to Salisbury University for his next soccer journey. The Sea Gulls’ 2019 roster featured four former Carroll standouts, including Manchester Valley graduate Connor Allen (the Times Player of the Year in 2017). Wharton said Chesney might be joined by a few more county players for 2020, giving Salisbury a sort of pipeline from Carroll to the Eastern Shore.