Parity will bring new intensity to playoff chase 1993 Anne Arundel County high school boys soccer preview

September 07, 1993

Northeast Eagles

2 Severn's first game is today vs. Mount Carmel.

Severna Park Falcons

Don Gregg would like to duplicate the success of last year's regular season, when the Falcons won 11 straight games to garner the top seeding in the 4A, Region IV playoffs.

Now, if only he could avert another first-round upset -- last year, the team fell to Old Mill, 4-0 -- and the controversy that could have destroyed the entire season.

Severna Park was 4-1 when Gregg had to dismiss five starters for disciplinary reasons. The team won its next seven games, however, and Gregg ran away with the county's Coach of the Year honors.

His biggest problem this fall is having to replace two first-team All-County midfielders -- Mark Casper (11 goals, 12 assists) and Aaron Duca (five, five) -- and first-team All-County defender Ryan Voegtlin. Casper also made first-team All-Metro and All-State, becoming the only Falcon to finish in double-figures in goals and assists during a season.

Complicating matters are some injuries that will leave the Falcons at a disadvantage going into the season-opener on Sept. 17 vs. Calvert Hall. The most notable absences are junior goalkeepers Adam Hurst and Chris Rippel, which temporarily leaves the job open to senior Andy Sheehan -- a transfer from California -- and sophomore Evan Henry.

"We'll be better when the injured players get healthy," said Gregg, who enters his 20th season. "It might take a game or two. Right now, we're fairly strong and competitive, good in the back. Goalkeeper is a question mark."

Three players who started the final game last season are senior striker/midfielder Matt Swift, junior sweeper Scott Neuberger and junior striker Kelly Harris. They will be joined by a host of talented seniors, such as fullback/midfielder Matt Benewicz, midfielder/striker Ben Copithorn, striker David Engstrom, fullback/midfielder Bill Habicht, midfielder Bob Habicht, midfielder Neil Mallinson and stopper Bryce Poland.

The newcomers include junior fullbacks Mike Daugard and John Holleran, junior midfielder/fullbacks John Rich and Rick Sporrer, and junior striker J. T. Carhart. Daugard and Carhart are expected to start.

"We have a pretty good, solid team," Gregg said. "We're just trying to blend them in. They have a good attitude, and they're ready to go. The scoring should be balanced. We'll get scoring from Swift, Harris, Carhart and Engstrom, and there will be some other midfielders who will put the ball in, and some backs who will come up and score. The defense should be pretty solid.

"We have two of the top backs in the county in Neuberger and Poland."

Gregg's teams have made the playoffs six straight years, but have gotten out of their region only twice.

Southern Bulldogs

After nine years as head boys soccer coach at St. Mary's, Tim Lauer decided he needed a break. So he stepped aside, figuring it was time to "let somebody else take over."

That was in 1990. Three years later, Lauer is breaking in a new team at Southern.

The Harwood school didn't field a varsity squad last year because of a lack of players. But less than a week ago, Lauer said that 29 boys had come out for the team, and if he can find one more, the Bulldogs could have varsity and junior-varsity programs.

"Inexperience will probably be the biggest factor we have to overcome, but I'll tell you, the kids have a tremendous attitude," he said. "I hope, for their sake, we can win a couple games to make it all worthwhile."

The roster contains just two seniors -- fullback Kevin Gibson and goalkeeper Rick Smits.

The defense poses the biggest question mark, so Lauer is hopeful that juniors Lee Derrick and Tom Danielson and sophomore Pete Danielson are ready to contribute.

The crop of halfbacks include juniors Brad Leahy and Eric Zollars. Tom Danielson also can man the position, and sophomore Charles Wetherill can play either halfback or striker.

Lauer likes the potential of strikers Sean Carroll (junior) and Jim Mensah (freshman).

Lauer feels he can put the Bulldogs back on the road to respectability, though it won't be easy.

"We're the smallest school in the county, which has always been one of the problems, and not just in soccer," he said. "As a 2A school that plays every school in Anne Arundel County, there are only two others that are 2A -- Northeast and South River. So, we have to play up virtually the whole season. That probably will be our biggest challenge, trying to compete against the bigger schools in our county while trying to make the playoffs."

Southern travels to Surrattsville of Prince George's County for its opener Sept. 15.

South River Seahawks

Last year, South River's strength was its front line, while the defense was a weakness. Now, with the entire line lost to graduation and an experienced defense ready to snuff out opposing offenses, the opposite is true.

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