Hunjak's 5 assists boost Spirit Invaders beaten at Arena, 25-18 SOCCER

November 07, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Tim Wittman scored a hat trick and Goran Hunjak had a club-record five assists to lead the Spirit to a 25-18 victory over the Canton Invaders last night at the Baltimore Arena.

A crowd of 4,076 watched the Spirit stretch its regular-season winning streak at the Arena to 11. The team's last regular-season loss at home was Jan. 23 against the Wichita Wings.

The Spirit had a 21-6 lead 4:36 into the fourth quarter, only to have Canton score 11 straight points, including three three-point goals, to trim the lead to 21-17. Two goals by goalie Cris Vaccaro on court-length heaves into an open net -- after Canton pulled its goalie -- gave the Spirit breathing room.

It was the first time in the National Professional Soccer League's 10-year history that a goalie scored two goals.

"I never had two in my life," said Vaccaro, who's in his 14th indoor season. "The first thing you do in a situation like that is look up and see if there's an opportunity to throw the ball into the open net. You don't get that many chances."

Vaccaro started the game, then, when the Spirit had built a 15-point lead, yielded to Brian Hartlove. When Hartlove gave up 11 straight points, Vaccaro returned.

The Spirit's point total was a club record. The Spirit scored 26 last March in an overtime win over Detroit.

The second quarter had barely started when Wittman had his hat trick, a two-point goal that gave the Spirit an 11-4 lead. Hunjak, who led the team with 53 goals last season, has six assists, but no goals.

"Goran takes as much pride in assists as he does goals," Spirit coach Kenny Cooper said. "Anyway, we have the guys this year who can score."

The Spirit jumped to a 6-0 lead on two goals by Wittman and one by Rusty Troy. Wittman's second goal glanced off Canton defender Marco Rizi and caught goalie P. J. Johns going the wrong way.

Canton banged in a pair of goals, but the Spirit answered with three straight, the last by Wittman, for an 11-4 bulge with 3:46 gone in the second quarter.

Just before halftime, rookie Rob Ukrop raised the Spirit's lead to 13-6, assisted by Hunjak. It was Hunjak's fourth assist, tying Wittman's club record established last February here against Cleveland.

NOTES: The Spirit will donate $1 from each ticket purchased for its Nov. 19 game here against the Harrisburg Heat to a recovery fund for Baltimore County police officer James Beck, who was shot while on duty Oct. 31. Beck is in stable but critical condition at University Hospital after undergoing surgery Thursday. Fans are urged to wear red ribbons on their right arms that night as a gesture of support for Beck. . . . In the first quarter, Vaccaro had his first shootout stop of the year; he stopped 26 of 40 last season. . . . Cooper said he will play Lance Johnson, the only player who didn't appear in the opening win. Johnson, a former Towson State star, was the Spirit's territorial pick in this year's NPSL draft. "The starters want to play, and it's hard to sit out proven players when the season has just started," Cooper said.

Canton 4 2 0 12 -- 18

Baltimore 8 5 6 6 -- 25

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