Heady play gives Mount St. Joseph's Matcuk the scoring lead Gael works hard to jump ahead

October 25, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Calvert Hall's No. 2-ranked soccer team had just completed a scoring binge for a 5-0 lead against visiting Mount St. Joseph.

Just 12 minutes remained in last Saturday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference game. Figuring his Cardinals had their 11th shutout just about in the bag, coach Bill Karpovich began emptying his bench of reserves.

But that's when the Gaels' thin man, Steve Matcuk -- all 6 feet 1, 155 pounds of him -- came leaping through the air with seeming ease.

Matcuk, the area's leading scorer, headed home his 17th goal of the year off of a cross from Joe Weidenhammer in an eventual 5-1 loss.

"We wanted to be conscious of where he was all the time, and we did a good job of it until then," said Karpovich of Matcuk, who scored the first league goal against the Cardinals, and the second overall this season.

"He's only a junior, but he's a terrific ball player. He's gotten taller and much stronger. His dad [Bill] went to Calvert Hall, didn't he? I wish we could have gotten [Steve] here."

With the exception of attending Calvert Hall -- which was simply too far a drive from his Pasadena home -- Steve Matcuk is following in the footsteps of his father, a 1963 graduate and an All-MSA selection.

Every opposing coach wants at least a piece of Matcuk. No leais safe if he isn't shut down.

He has had at least a goal or an assist in every game but one this year -- the Gaels' 2-0 loss to No. 4-ranked Archbishop Curley -- and has sparked his team with the game's first goal on 11 different occasions.

With an area-leading 22 goals and 13 assists, Matcuk has had either his head or his feet involved in 35 of the Gaels' 49 goals.

His effort against Calvert Hall completed a six-goal, three-assist week that included his second of three hat tricks in a 6-0 win over Division II rival Severn.

The 16-year-old accounted for all three goals in a 3-0 win over Howard High, and he had three goals and an assist in Thursday's 6-1 win over Archbishop Spalding.

"He's a hungry player. He's always around the ball," said coach Mike Dolan, whose 11th-ranked Gaels (12-3-1) are in second place behind Division II rival Curley.

Matcuk finished strong last year, scoring both goals in a 2-1 MSA semifinal victory over Curley and pacing the Gaels to a runner-up finish to 15-time champion Calvert Hall.

"I could tell last year, when Steve scored 18 goals and seven assists, that he was a natural goal scorer," Dolan added. "But he's no longer a one-dimensional player. He spent the summer working on his leaping ability, and he's really getting up there. He's also developed his speed, quickness and his ability to read the field."

Dolan's Gaels line up in the 4-4-2 format, which "gives Steve a little extra room up front."

"He's been double-teamed a lot this year, but he's learned to create space," Dolan said of Matcuk, who has scored six game-winning goals. "He'll come out for the ball, get a return pass and dump it off. He's become a very good playmaker this year."

Front-line mate Kenny Angyelof (10 goals, five assists) has been the main beneficiary of Matcuk's play.

Angyelof said the two strikers formed a symbiotic relationship as summer league teammates on the Arundel Strikers club team, which also featured Gaels goalkeeper John Smith and Gibbons midfielder Steve Wojociechowski. The team won seven of the nine tournaments it entered, in addition to reaching the State Cup semifinals.

"We play together all year-round, so he and I complement each other well," said Angyelof. "We know what the other guy's going to do on certain plays. Like when the ball's coming in, we can look at each other and tell who's going to go up for it."

Unlike many players who have attained his skill level, Matcunever has been involved in the state's Olympic Developmental Program.

He said it would interfere with his other interest, baseball. As a pitcher and shortstop last spring, Matcuk went 7-0 on the mound and hit .430.

"I like playing baseball, but I'd rather play soccer in college," said Matcuk, who has a 3.3 grade-point average. "That's why I came out this year to show that I'm not a ball hog. If Kenny or someone else is wide open, I'll give up the ball."

When Matcuk kicked his first soccer ball at age 5, playing for the Mountain Road Optimists, he didn't know he'd develop the skills he has -- especially in the air.

"I've grown about three inches since last year. And I can jump, so I try to take advantage of it," said Matcuk. "It helps when I've got two, sometimes three defenders on me. I've scored with headers about five or six times."

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