Fazenbaker, S. Carroll growing together

October 04, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

On the outside, he remains modest and full of composure.

Somehow, though, you get the idea that deep down Charlie Fazenbaker just wants to jump up and down and let out a big scream about his South Carroll boys soccer team.

And why not? The Cavaliers go into tonight's game against Francis Scott Key with a 5-0 mark and are solidly perched at the No. 6 position in this week's metro poll.

The first signs of potential came four years ago when Scott Ensor, Martin Oswiecimka, Adam Aulestia and Emmanuel Smyrnioudis led a strong freshman group that has gotten better every year. A strong finish last season (4-0-2) has spilled over, and the lofty expectations of the early season have been met.

All the while, the fifth-year coach has kept things in perspective.

"I've always had a good time coaching. When you win, it's just a little easier to get up in the morning," Fazenbaker said.

"With the number of kids back and the successful ending we had last season, I had an idea we had a good opportunity this year. And then we get a couple of exchange students and a transfer, and we have just as much back as we lost."

Fazenbaker, who teaches psy- chology at South Carroll, began coaching soccer at the JV level in 1975. The varsity coach then, Bill Stricker, had lost two assistants in two years when Fazenbaker volunteered.

"Bill was losing one junior varsity coach after the other, so I just said, 'I'll do it.' He kind of laughed, and then figured it was a warm body. I went in knowing nothing about soccer," Fazenbaker said.

Stricker remains a good friend and colleague of Fazenbaker's at South Carroll.

"I'm happy to see him do well," Stricker said.

"He's always been a hard worker and has really put in his time, he deserves it. He's learned the game and has progressed with it and now has the kind of team that can be very competitive."

Fazenbaker had a short playing career at Valley High School in Allegany County. One he can laugh about now.

"I tried out in the ninth grade and got cut," he said. "It was mainly because I wasn't any good. I was also small and slow.

"Back in high school, we had five-man lines and would put the two biggest players at fullback to knock down whoever came through."

The game has changed dramatically since then, and Fazenbaker has changed with it, learning the game through books, films and experience.

He recognized this group's talent and incorporated a short game that thrives on ball control.

"We learned that we don't have to constantly be moving forward to have success," he said. "We can control the ball with square passes, drops and by changing the field. When we're doing those thing, we're on our game."

He said it's really up to the team.

"The biggest pressure I have is just making sure the kids stay focused and that we take things one game at a time. Before the season, I told the kids they had the ability, it now just comes down to whether they have the heart and mind to do it."

The 5-0 start is the best since Fazenbaker took over for Stricker in 1990. That, along with last year's 6-4-2 season, has brought new expectations. Fazenbaker is getting the most out of every minute.

"This is a great group of kids. I have 22 guys and enjoy the 22nd guy just as much as the first guy," he said.

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