All things being equal, making playoffs a battle Parity might leave good teams behind 1993 Anne Arundel County high school boys soccer preview

September 07, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Assessing his team's chances of qualifying for the boys soccer playoffs this fall, Annapolis coach Dave Gehrdes said, "Hopefully, there will be a lot of parity in the county."

2 Broadneck opens the season Sept. 21 vs. Bowie.

Chesapeake Cougars

The main objective at Chesapeake is to get off to a better start than last season, when the Cougars went 1-3 while scoring just one goal.

The lone victory during that stretch was by 1-0 over Arundel in a rain-shortened game.

Goodbye, playoffs.

"We were optimistic and we got off to a horrible start," said coach Earl Eckhardt. "We were 1-3 before we knew what hit us. But we finished 6-1-1 the rest of the season, so we're hoping to carry that over."

Eckhardt also bid farewell to two first-team All-County players, midfielder Chris LeCron (four goals, four assists) and goalkeeper Scott Mulkey (105 saves). LeCron also was an All-State second-team choice.

Eckhardt won't get much pity from rival coaches, though. The Cougars are one of the more experienced teams in the metro area with 15 returnees. The roster is composed solely of seniors and juniors.

Leading the way offensively is senior striker Fred Sporrer (eight goals, four assists) -- a second-team All-County selection -- and senior midfielder Dan Gerben (five goals). But that's just the beginning.

Also back are senior striker Erik Dahlen, senior midfielders Jason Emory, Jamie Hall and Will Sulima, and junior midfielders Keith Hare, Blake Moore and Shawn Shannon.

Senior fullbacks Eric Distin, Sean Murphy and Justin Wilde, and junior fullback Mike Zeruto lend further experience.

Senior goalkeeper Scott Weaver is trying to hold off a strong challenge from junior John Smith -- a transfer from Mount St. Joseph -- for the starting job.

Smith isn't the only newcomer who could make an impact. Eckhardt has seven other juniors joining the varsity -- strikers Ryan Ansted and Patrick McBee, midfielders Chris Daywalt and Josh Fenwick, and fullbacks Shane Hatmaker, Brandon Holmes and Rob Redmond.

"We're talented, there's no doubt about it," Eckhardt said.

K? Chesapeake opens the season Sept. 21 vs. Eleanor Roosevelt.

Glen Burnie Gophers

"I've really got to be patient."

These are the words of a new coach taking over a program that went 1-10-1 last season. And Ed Leibe might need more than just patience to turn around the Glen Burnie Gophers.

Either way, he's anxious to try.

"They have a lot to learn, a whole new system and a whole new coaching style," said Leibe, who ran the Gophers' girls soccer team last year before trading places with former boys coach Jon Van Orden.

"At this point, it's really hard to tell how we'll do. I'm optimistic. They didn't lose many players, so it's basically the same players back. Logic says they should improve on their record of last year."

If this happens, it will be due to Glen Burnie's midfield depth and experience on defense.

Senior goalkeepers Chris Tingen and Mike Messmore are back, though Tingen is battling some preseason injuries. They are supported by senior stopper Shawn Behegan, senior fullback Steve Mulholland and sophomore Keith Culotta, a sweeper last year who may be switched to another defensive position. Sophomore midfielder/defender Jon Riley also returns.

Further experience in the midfield comes from seniors Dave Holsey, Todd Barto and Jack Wildt and juniors Tony Hynson and Ruben Arizmendi. Arizmendi also could play striker.

L At forward, the Gophers have senior Jose Arjona coming back.

Junior midfielder/striker Chuck Krick, sophomore defender Jaime Leventry and sophomore forward Mike Gittens are among the newcomers.

Can this group win more than one game?

"The record last year doesn't at all reflect the team," Leibe said. "They lost some very close games. Some of the games I watched were even, they just couldn't finish, and that's been the story at Glen Burnie for a couple of years. If we can find somebody to finish for us, we'll be a competitive team."

When asked about the adjustment to coaching the boys team, Leibe said, "It's different. I wouldn't say one is better than the other. But for my style of coaching, I'll be able to relate more to the boys. Drawing from my playing experience, there are a few subtle parts of the game that I might be able to explain better to the boys than the girls."

C7 Glen Burnie opens the season Sept. 23 vs. Old Mill.

Meade Mustangs

After winning its region two years ago, Meade compiled a 4-7-1 record and failed to make the playoffs last season.

Now, coach Mike Dey has taken aim at the playoffs once again.

"I'll be real disappointed if we don't improve on last season," he said. "You don't want to be too optimistic, but I think we have a good shot to get into the playoffs.

Six full-time starters return, led by senior striker/midfielder Andre Wise (eight goals, three assists), who made second-team All-County last year.

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