Spirit rallies past Canton, 12-7 Hartlove saves 14 in his first start

January 19, 1993|By Mike Popovich | Mike Popovich,Contributing Writer

CANTON, Ohio -- Goalkeeper Brian Hartlove made his first National Professional Soccer League start a memorable one last night.

Hartlove faced 22 shots and recorded 14 saves, as the Baltimore Spirit shut down the Canton Invaders, 12-7, before an announced crowd of 1,410 at Canton Memorial Civic Center.

Hartlove, a rookie from West Virginia University, played five games for the Spirit as a reserve before last night. Cris Vaccaro, ranked second in the NPSL with a 10.32 points-against average, had started the Spirit's previous 18 games.

"You obviously have to have two goalkeepers to win," said Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper. "Cris Vaccaro has had a sensational season for us. Brian has come off the bench a couple of times in pressure situations and has been outstanding. Every time he is called upon, he has been able to get the job done. He had tremendous saves again tonight."

Cooper told Hartlove on Saturday that he would get the start against the five-time NPSL champion Invaders.

"I was looking forward to starting and playing a full game," Hartlove said. "I came in just looking to play good ball. We have been playing good, even though we have not jumped out on some teams like we have in the past. But I'm glad to get the first one under my belt."

Hartlove was behind the 8-ball right away. A two-point goal by midfielder Tom Bialek and a power-play goal by forward John Dugan gave Canton a 3-0 lead five minutes into the game.

"You don't like to play catch-up ball, especially after you jump in the nets and they get three right away," said Hartlove. "But we have had games where we came up with slow starts before. We were able to come back strong. We just had to play good defense and the goals would come later."

The goals came in bunches. The Spirit took control of the game with a 10-0 run in the first half. Baltimore led 10-5 at halftime.

Barry Stitz scored two goals and added two assists for Baltimore. Rusty Troy, Joe Koziol, Kevin Smith and Tim Wittman added a goal apiece for the Spirit, which has held Canton to 11 points in two games.

"You have to have pride defensively, and that's one of the reasons why we are 15-4," said Cooper. "To hold them to seven points is a key for us because we know we have great goal scorers."

Baltimore, which leads the second-place Cleveland Crunch by two games in the American Division, will play at Harrisburg on Saturday.

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