Loyola's youth has served notice: they are class by themselves

September 03, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

A young team isn't necessarily a rebuilding one. The men's soccer team at Loyola College proved that last fall.

Despite starting five freshmen against a difficult schedule, the Greyhounds rolled through the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, finished with a 16-4-1 record and gave Loyola its first national top 25 ranking since 1987.

No one is talking about the Greyhounds' youth anymore. With eight starters back from last year, including its top three scorers, Loyola looks like the class of the state. The Greyhounds are a good bet to qualify for the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time in six years.

Junior forward Bill Wnek (13 goals, one assist) and sophomore midfielder Marc Harrison (eight goals, five assists) lead a potent offense that can afford the relocation of sophomore Bill Heiser (seven goals, six assists) from forward to defense. Sophomore Will Cirrincione,who came on to score four goals in late-season wins over Maryland and Iona, also will start on the front line.

Sophomores Dave Briles and Chris Doyle join Harrison in the midfield. That trio combined for 15 goals last year. Loyola's only question mark is in the goal, where the Greyhounds replace four-year starter Shawn Boehmcke with Zach Thornton, who arrives from Essex Community College after earning first-team NJCAA All-America honors in 1992. Senior Peter Trizzino, who has surrendered only four goals in his career, will push Thornton.

A preview of the rest of the state teams follows.

Division I

* MARYLAND: First-year coach Sasho Cirovski will be challenged to make the Terps competitive after a 5-12 season that was followed by the graduation of top scorer Jeff Stroud (10 goals, one assist) and four-year goalkeeper Carmine Isacco, a hTC three-time, all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. Freshman forward Shane Dougherty (Fallston), the Sun's Player of the Year in 1992, should help the offense immediately. Midfielder Tod Herskovitz, who started for Cirovski for two years at Hartford, has transferred.

* NAVY: The Midshipmen lost leading scorer Tim Bourdon, Patriot League Most Valuable Player Jono Halverson and all-time assist leader Cliff Carpenter to graduation, and the offense looks too inexperienced to improve on last year's 10-6-3 record. Midfielder Seth Walters (eight goals, three assists) should be the scoring spark. Seniors Marc Boran and Jeff Wagner lead a defense that will be the key to Navy's success.

* TOWSON STATE: Three-time, all-conference goalkeeper Rich Pellegrini (John Carroll) is one of only two seniors on the Tigers' roster. He has 15 career shutouts. Junior Ryan Burke (Oakland Mills) and sophomore Erik Washington (Meade) should give Pellegrini enough support, but if the Tigers are going to contend for the Big South title -- and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament -- their offense must wake up. Towson State scored only 26 goals in 19 games last year, when the Tigers were shut out a school-record nine times. Coach Frank Olszewski is counting on sophomores Todd Hicks and Frank Zamparki to change that.

* UMBC: Four of the Retrievers' top five scorers return from a 12-9 team that won the regular-season, Big South title -- junior back Bobby Wagner (eight goals, five assists), sophomore midfielder J.J. Kremer (nine goals), senior midfielder Robert Diver (nine assists) and junior forward Rob Hoch (five goals, three assists). What's more, senior Rob Elliot has transferred from Loyola, where he recorded 74 points in three seasons. If sophomores Jeff Muschick (sweeper) and Jesse Haislip (goalkeeper) move into starting roles smoothly, UMBC should remain near the top of the Big South.

* MOUNT ST. MARY'S: If the Mountaineers are going to improve on their 5-10-2 record last year, they must get their offense turned around. They've scored only 32 goals in their past 35 games. Thirty-eight-year coach Jim Deegan is looking for sophomore forward Mike Faubert (four goals, two assists) and junior Esa Stables, a second-team All-Northeast Conference back last year who has moved to midfield, to alleviate that problem.

* UMES: In their fourth year of existence, the Hawks are still trying to establish a competitive foothold. Last year's 0-12-1 record was a step in the wrong direction. Second-year coach Sam Douglas recruited Bermudans Kimandi Binns and Fitzgerald Williams to help get the program moving.

Division III

* WESTERN MARYLAND: Although the Green Terrors return five starters from last year's 9-7-1 team, fifth-year coach Matt Robinson has some rebuilding to do, since his top four scorers graduated. Senior midfielder Scott Schoberg (Westminster) is the top returning scorer with five goals and an assist. Junior Matt St. Jean recorded four shutouts last year and should stabilize the defense.

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