Even in defeat, W. Maryland looks strong

September 13, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

Consider the circumstances the Western Maryland men's soccer team found itself in when faced with the task of opening the season against highly regarded Carnegie Mellon.

The Green Terror had eight days to prepare for their Sept. 4 game against Carnegie Mellon, which finished the 1993 season ranked 17th nationally and had six of its top seven scorers returning. And Western Maryland was doing it with a new coach, John Plevyak, who took over for Matt Robinson in late July.

Plevyak was still learning some of his players' names when the Green Terror gave Carnegie Mellon all it could handle. It wasn't until the last 28 seconds when the visitors scored their second goal that they could rest comfortably in coming away with a 2-0 win.

The Green Terror rebounded two days later with a solid 4-2 road win against Goucher and the Plevyak era is under way.

"You have to give Matt Robinson a lot of credit, he really left some talent -- that's for sure," Plevyak said. "These are his recruits."

Robinson stepped down after five seasons to take an administrative position at another college. He left behind a solid program full of young talent.

Plevyak returns to coaching after a 10-year hiatus. He coached the boys team at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore from 1976 through 1984 and has an extensive soccer background. He's glad to be back in the coaching ranks and pleased with what he has seen so far.

"The caliber of ball is quite surprising," he said. "It looks as if the youth programs have really caught on and have taught the players right. I wasn't sure what to expect, but have been quite pleased. They're all coming with the total package."

Injuries, close losses, new players getting used to one another and some bad luck resulted in a 3-13-1 campaign a year ago -- including a 1-7-1 mark in the Centennial Conference.

A 1994 team full of underclassmen isn't fazed.

"Most of these kids were all pretty successful on their high school teams and are just not used to losing," Plevyak said. "These kids say they can win now, so we'll see."

Western Maryland has a balanced attack, but its strength appears to be on defense, led by senior co-captain Matt St. Jean in goal.

"Matt has all the tools, he's an excellent leader and very agile," Plevyak said. "He's the quickest kid to go down and stop the low ball I've ever seen play. It's like he has spring in his legs."

Senior sweeper Matt Massey, an All-CC honorable mention last season, and sophomore letter-winner Mac Wilson are two other key returnees in back.

Plevyak said senior center midfielder Chris Kaplan has the ability to take control of a game on his own and showed that with a couple of goals against Goucher.

Fellow senior Michael Clinton, sophomores Rick Estes and Eric Laurence and freshman John D'Andrea also will see plenty of time at midfield.

The big question for the Green Terror this season will be who puts the ball in the net and Plevyak has plenty of candidates. What he would like to see is everyone chipping in.

The Green Terror only scored 21 goals in 17 games last season.

"There's no question we need someone to step up and score," Plevyak said. "I'm very confident with our defense and believe Kaplan can control the middle. We needs guys like [Gui] Valladares, [Ryan] Hudson and Estes to step it up and score some goals. We need those guys and some others to come through and they are very capable if they can gain some

confidence."

1994 TERROR SCHEDULE

Sept. 15 at Lebanon Valley, 4

Sept. 17 at Swarthmore, 1

Sept. 21 at Dickinson, 4

Sept. 24 Haverford, 2

Sept. 26 at York, 4

Oct. 1 Franklin & Marshall, 11

Oct. 5 Ursinus, 4

Oct. 8 at Frostburg St., 1:30

Oct. 10 at St. Mary's, 3:30

Oct. 12 Johns Hopkins, 4

Oct. 15 Washington, 4

Oct. 22 Eastern, 11

Oct. 26 at Gettysburg, 3:30

Oct. 29 at Muhlenburg, 3:30

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