Soccer fans can take in an interesting Baltimore-Philadelphia doubleheader Saturday.
The opener comes at 1 p.m. at Towson State, where the Tigers will take on Drexel in a rematch of last year's East Coast Conference title game. In defense of its ECC title, Towson State already has rolled over Hofstra and Delaware, and conference Player of the Week Joe Layfield, a junior from Calvert Hall, has three goals and three assists.
The chief subplot involves two households that don't know which team to root for.
Drexel's top players are midfielder Steve Keppler, a senior out of Arundel High, and forward Mike Pellegrini, a junior who went to John Carroll. Both were ECC all-stars last year, Keppler being named to the squad for the second year.
At Towson State, the redshirt freshman goalie is Rich Pellegrini, Mike's brother and teammate when they were at John Carroll. Another Towson State freshman is reserve midfielder Mike Keppler. Like his older brother Steve, he also starred in baseball at Arundel.
Drexel returns to town next Wednesday for a game at UMBC.
Game two of Saturday's doubleheader involves a short drive to Loyola, where the Greyhounds meet Philadelphia Textile at 3:30 p.m. Textile has been to the last two NCAA tournaments. Ranked No. 16 in the nation, Textile has won five straight since a season-opening loss at Connecticut.
Loyola is 3-1-3 overall, and the season-opening loss at William & Mary is its only setback since last Oct. 1. The Greyhounds ran their series record against UMBC to 15-0-2 Tuesday, and they did so without coach Bill Sento. He was en route to Donora, Pa., where his father died later that day. In his absence, Denis Krupa and Scott Manning will run the club.
In other soccer games Saturday, Mount St. Mary's Jim Deegan will be after his 200th career coaching victory in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A 7-0 rout of York Tuesday left Deegan's 35-year mark at 199-215-35. Don Barry, Even Hytten and Brendan Callahan rank 1-2-3 in the Northeast Conference in scoring, and the Mount is favored to beat Marist.
* Salisbury State football coach Joe Rotellini can empathize with Loyola's Sento.
Rotellini accompanied his young team to Ferrum, Va., last Friday for a game against one of the top teams in Division III. Early Saturday, game day, he was notified of the death of his father in Annapolis. Rotellini caught a flight out of Roanoke Saturday morning, leaving the team to assistant coach Terry Rupert. Rotellini stayed in Annapolis for the Tuesday funeral, and was expected to return to Salisbury today.
Against Ferrum, the Sea Gulls trailed 41-0 at halftime. This Saturday the Sea Gulls travel to another unbeaten, Frostburg State.
* Towson State will be host to invitationals in cross country and volleyball this weekend.
The cross country races at Oregon Ridge begin at 4 p.m. tomorrow, and the highlight could be the men's race featuring UMBC and Maryland. The Terps are led by senior Curt Walz (Middletown) and juniors Greg Early (Eleanor Roosevelt) and Chris Ciamarra (Glen Burnie). The women were strengthened when Karen Eisemann (C. Milton Wright) transferred from Liberty.
The eight-team volleyball tournament begins tomorrow at 4 p.m., and the championship is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. The Tigers, who have the ECC Player of the Week in junior Val Davis, will be looking to move up a place after finishing second in invitationals at Loyola and George Mason.