After solid play in '90-91, Crunch showing crackles this season

December 06, 1991|By Sandra McKee

What goes around comes around, the saying goes, and Cleveland Crunch coach Trevor Dawkins soon may be among those who believe it.

Dawkins, who took over as coach last season when Kai Haaskivi couldn't get the Crunch untracked in the early going, is now in the position of having to do what Haaskivi couldn't do then -- engineer a turnaround.

He also is finding out about what the Blast went through a year ago, when it had 20 one-goal losses. Cleveland, which plays the Blast at the Arena tonight (8:05), has had five one-goal losses on the way to a 2-7 record.

"It's all about consistency," said Dawkins. "We haven't had too much of that. It not only fluctuates game to game, but half to half. . . . But we've trained well the last couple weeks. I was encouraged by our game in St. Louis last week. We were down by three goals and fought back to tie it. We lost in overtime, but not before we had a chance to win."

It is Cleveland's powerhouse offense -- Zoran Karic, Hector Marinaro, Michael King and now Haaskivi -- that has the Blast worried going into tonight's game.

"Cleveland scares me," said Blast forward Rod Castro. "You never know when a team like that is going to turn it around. Sooner or later, they have to turn it around."

Blast coach Kenny Cooper has been reminding his players not to be overconfident going into tonight's game.

"The one thing I keep telling them is that we can't afford to take a night off," Cooper said. "The night we decide to sit back on our laurels, that's the night we'll lose. When we went to Cleveland, we were on the bottom of the standings and we shot their lights out [in a 6-3 come-from-behind victory]."

The Crunch is in the process of bolstering its defense, having signed former Major Soccer League All-Star Bernie James on Tuesday night. But James, the league's all-time leading shot-blocker, will not be in a Cleveland uniform until the Blast's game at Richfield Coliseum on Dec. 13.

Blast tonight

Opponent: Cleveland Crunch

Site: Baltimore Arena, 8:05

Radio: WCAO (600 AM)

Tickets remaining: 5,000

Outlook: Baltimore takes a 4-game winning streak against the Crunch, which has lost 7 of its past 8, including a 6-3 loss to the Blast in the first meeting between the teams this season, Nov. 23 at Richfield Coliseum. D Iain Fraser (sprained right ankle), D Emil Dragicevic (groin strain) and M Kevin Sloan (bruised left heel) are probable for Baltimore. F Hector Marinaro (groin strain), D George Fernandez (mild concussion) and D Marco Rizi (groin strain) are probable for Cleveland.

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