Rob Fereday just couldn't stand it any longer.
Midway into the second half of Wednesday's 1-0 win over Harford Community College, the Anne Arundel Community College assistant coach couldn't look at the Pioneers' struggle to score against the 1-12 Owls, who they had blanked, 3-0, Sept 27.
Perhaps it was coincidental that just a few minutes after Feredayleft the field in disgust, striker Jody Haslip ended AACC's frustration by banging a right-footed shot into the net past acrobatic goalieDarrell Alexander.
"That's the way we are, we usually play to thelevel of our opponents," said goalie Cory Derfler, a 1990 Southern High graduate.
"We usually play a lot better than we showed tonight. Harford played us tough, but I think it was more a case of us playing more to their level."
If Anne Arundel should continue this pattern, it should be in decent shape in the weeks to come. The Pioneers will take on Montgomery-Rockville -- who recently knocked off the nation's eighth-ranked team, Essex -- this Friday.
At press time the Pioneers were 11-6 overall, 6-4 in the Maryland JuCo Conference aftersuffering a 4-1 loss to Essex last Friday.
"We're at the point inthe season where it's easy to get a little lax," said Anne Arundel head coach Ken Wolf. "The players have to realize that this is where we've got to raise it up a level."
Haslip, the team's leading scorer with 15 goals and four assists prior to yesterday's game against No. 7 Brevard, raised his game just in the nick of time.
After beingbenched by Wolf for missing Tuesday's practice -- along with midfielder Bobby Ghirvanian -- the North County High graduate returned in the second half of the Harford game without missing a beat.
The former All-County performer easily has adapted to the faster, more physical brand of soccer played in the college ranks.
"Before the seasonbegan, Coach Fereday said that playing here wouldn't be the same as playing in high school. He said that if I didn't work harder, I wouldn't score nearly as much as I used to. That kind of got me pumped up," said Haslip.
Wolf said, "The last three teams that we play on our schedule are going to be the types of teams we're going to have beat in order to win the (Region XX) tournament. There's a good chance that we'll have to play either Essex or Rockville again at some point in the tournament."
Should Anne Arundel have to play the Knights, it should have no problem getting motivated to upset the Baltimore County power after Friday's loss.
Roberto Ascenzi punctured the Pioneer defense for three goals, including two in the second half, takingthe wind out of the visitors' sails for the remainder of the game.
"I think if we make a good showing against teams like Brevard and Rockville, we'll have a good chance at going all the way," said Derfler, whose best memory in his collegiate career is last year's win overRockville, which had come into the game ranked first in the country.The Pioneers would go on to the regional semifinals.
During 1990,Derfler gained a starting role midway through the season for a 12-5-2 team. This year, he's splitting time with former Illinois high school player, freshman Charlie Davie, a transfer from the Naval Academy.
"I don't mind sharing time, as long as I get a chance to play," said Derfler, who would like to try his talents at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County or Salisbury State in 1992.
Former Meade striker Rodney DeConti is second on the team in scoring with eight goals and three assists, followed by Glen Burnie grad Jon Plummer (fivegoals and two assists); Meade graduate Ghirvanian (two goals and four assists), and Old Mill alum Barry Conner (two goals and three assists).
First-round action of the region playoffs will begin Nov. 5 and 6, with the higher seeds playing host. The semifinals will be played at Catonsville Community College on Nov. 9 and 10.