Bays debut in style on field, at gate

November 27, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

There was a certain electricity in the air last night as professional indoor soccer made its debut at Du Burns Arena in historic Canton.

A standing-room-only crowd of 945 packed its way into the building to see what the Baltimore Bays of the U.S. Interregional Soccer League were all about. They were not disappointed.

The Bays dominated the Hampton Roads Hurricanes from start to finish and rolled to a 13-2 victory in the season opener for the home team.

Former Blast standouts Mark Mettrick and Billy Ronson showed why they were outstanding players in the now defunct Major Soccer League, as they combined for three goals and three assists.

Mettrick scored three straight goals in the third quarter when the Bays spurted to an 8-1 lead, and Ronson contributed three assists and came ever so close to a fourth one in the third quarter.

Former Calvert Hall star Joe Layfield joined in the offensive show with two goals and two assists, and Jason Wright was impressive in the goal for the Bays with 20 saves.

But the biggest news of the night was the fans and the reception they gave the Bays when the players were introduced.

"It was fantastic," said Ronson. "I know we worked hard to get people out for the game, but this kind of crowd was beyond our wildest imagination."

Bays general manager Ben Neil said he wasn't shocked by the outpouring of fans.

"We went out into the soccer community to all the people and it worked," said Neil. "We've made sure they feel safe down here in Canton with private security and Du Burns Arena security."

When Neil was asked if he thought the team might outgrow Du Burns, he said: "I hope we do."

Baltimore coach Kevin Healey liked everything he saw about the game, as he ran two lines against the Hurricanes all evening and wore the visitors down.

"We looked sharp and made some super passes," said Healey. "Especially that pass Billy Ronson gave Goose Nattans for our second goal. That pass was right there."

For Mettrick, it was much more than just another evening of soccer.

He had been out of indoor soccer last season and was delighted just to have a chance to play again.

"It feels great being back," said Mettrick. "I'm only 27 and that was too young to be out of the game. I didn't even know I scored three straight goals. It was a lot of fun."

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