Judging the Anne Arundel Community College men's lacrosse team by its outward appearance may not be the smartest thing for opposing teamsto do.
On Feb. 15, the Pioneers traveled to Philadelphia to play in four 30-minute round-robin scrimmages against National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II and III schools West Chester, Widener, St. Joseph's and Goucher College.
AACC made more than an adequate showing by finishing the day witha 3-1 record -- losing only to West Chester -- as it frequently surprised its opposition with its skill and composure.
"People tend tolook at us visually, and they'd better not (this year)," said co-head coach Alan Pastrana, who along with co-head coach Buddy Beardmore seems to think that this year's squad has the togetherness and the moxie to continue its successful tradition.
"The reason being is because the invisible characteristics that this team has -- motivation, the ability to work as one, and a good work ethic -- can make them a tough team near the end of the season," Beardmore said.
Last year, the Pioneers finished 10-4, barely missing the Region XX playoffs by losing twice to eventual National Junior College Athletic Associationchampion Essex.
This year, Pastrana says that the four-team Maryland JuCo League made up of AACC, Essex, Catonsville and an improved Harford squad will comprise a tough, competitive league.
"This group of guys we have out here is the type that is willing to go that extra mile," said Pastrana, as half of his team stayed after practice torun extra wind sprints on Tuesday. "I really like the unity of this group."
Beardmore said, "I am very impressed with the attitude andthe togetherness of this team. This team has good chemistry, and I think it will serve us well later in the year."
Tomorrow, the Pioneers will begin their regular season at Baltimore County's Villa JulieCollege with five returning sophomores and five freshmen -- a lineupBeardmore calls "balanced" from top to bottom.
Starting in goal will be Vic Goeller (20 saves in eight quarters of spot duty), a sophomore product of Calvert County's Northern High who played back-up to Brendan Lehane, now a member of the University of Maryland Baltimore-County squad. Chesapeake High graduate Jaime Dickey, a sophomore transfer from Mary Washington (Va.) College, provides added depth in the nets.
"There is a good competition between the two of them. Both of them have good skills. They both can stop (shots), and they both can clear," said Pastrana, a member of the coaching staff since 1970. "What we're looking for now is verbal leadership."
The team's biggest player at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, sophomore Ron Rowe (Pallotti, Prince George's County) will anchor a defense that also will consist of freshmen Erik Arnett (Chesapeake) and Brant Shelton (Arundel).
Back-up defensive players are freshmen Eric Crapster (Glen Burnie), Jeff Followell (Bowie) and Tim Ross (Meade).
Although captains have yetto be named, both coaches expect a good deal of leadership from sophomore midfielders Nick DiMauro (South River, eight goals, four assists, 37 ground balls) and Ryan Murphy (Broadneck, seven goals, 11 assists, 103 ground balls), who will be joined by freshman Chris Turner (Annapolis).
"Nick has good speed and strength, but his intensity iswhat makes him special," said Pastrana. "And Ryan is just an all-around player. Very consistent on both ends of the field."
Coming offthe bench in the midfield are freshmen Brian Kubik (Glen Burnie), Mike Lawson (Mount St. Joseph), attack-middies Derek Reem (Glen Burnie)and Bruce Shaw (Broadneck), and ex-South River player Troy Smith. The lone sophomore of the bunch is George Ash (Old Mill).
Starting attackmen include freshmen Mike McClellan (St. Mary's) and Duncan Greene (St. James, Hagerstown), who along with Ash served in the Persian Gulf war as a Marine, and sophomore Joe Flynn (Severna Park), who tallied four goals and handed out nine assists in 1991.
"We're not asdeep in numbers like in the past, so we have to stay healthy. But wehave a lot of quality players," said Beardmore.
ANNE ARUNDEL COMMUNITY COLLEGE MEN'S LACROSSE SCHEDULE
March 6 Villa Julie away 4:00 p.m.
March 14 Severn River L.C. away 12:00 p.m.
March 18 Harfordhome 7:00 p.m.
March 21 Navy away 12:00 p.m.
March 25 Catonsville home 7:00 p.m.
March 27 Suffolk away 3:30 p.m.
March 28 Nassau away 1:00 p.m.
April 1 Essex away 3:30 p.m.
April 5 Univ. of Col.(Club) home 11:00 a.m.
April 7 Harford away 7:00 p.m.
April 11 Farmingdale home 2:00 p.m.
April 15 Essex home 7:00 p.m.
April 22 Catonsville away 7:00 p.m.
May 1 Canadian Nationals home 7:00 p.m.
May 8-9 NJCAA Nationals