Taste of winning has Terror wanting more

March 08, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The time is now for the Western Maryland men's lacrosse team to start doing more than just staying with the better teams.

A tough early schedule put the Green Terror in a 0-3 hole last season and it never fully recovered, getting within one game of the .500 mark at 4-5 before finishing with a 6-8 record.

Third-year coach Keith Reitenbach said a sample of winning could leave a lasting impression.

"We're excited about the direction the program is going," he said. "We need to have some success against the stronger teams on the schedule. Just playing well against those teams doesn't provide the reinforcement we're looking for -- winning does."

The Green Terror has two of its top three scorers returning in junior Dean Coccia (32 goals, 41 assists) and senior Mike Marsico (25 goals, 21 assists). There's also a veteran cast of defenders and some experience at midfield.

Reitenbach plans to incorporate a handful of newcomers into the fold at all positions and must fill the void left by graduated goalkeeper Marc Brunco, an All-Centennial Conference second-team selection last season.

"We're counting on our attack as being one of our solid units," Reitenbach said. "Dean and Mike are both solid attackmen who've had success against the teams we've traditionally beaten. They have to take things to the next level to compete against the teams like Salisbury, Gettysburg, Franklin & Marshall and Washington."

That is Reitenbach's motto for the entire team, but it's Coccia and Marsico -- the team's co-captains along with defender Keith Abel -- who must step up and provide examples.

"Dean's career stats will show he's more of an assist man than a goal scorer. That's what he likes to do -- make things happen, but he can also finish as well," Reitenbach said.

"Mike is a guy who is continuing to develop as a lacrosse player. He was a 20-minute man as a sophomore who last year made the transition as a full-time player. Being a go-to guy is something that was new to him and something he had to deal with last year. He's now got that year's experience as a finisher."

Joining those two up front will be sophomore Matt Hoppe and freshman Bo Schrott, a Mount St. Joe product Reitenbach is real excited about.

Who will keep the ball out of the Western Maryland cage at the other end is the biggest question. Brunco made 272 saves last season, while junior Brett Gershman and sophomore John Torpy combined for just 31.

"Neither really has been tested at this level," Reitenbach said. "Brett has been the backup the past two years, so he appears to be the heir apparent. We'll give them both an opportunity to assert their claim to the No. 1 spot."

For whoever starts in goal, there will be plenty of experience immediately in front of him with a defensive corps featuring a mix of size and speed. Senior Robby Doeller and sophomore Ryan Winship are the big guys with Pat Bonner, a grad student, and Abel the fast ones. Senior Morgan Klotz and freshman Russell Cromwell also will see plenty of action.

The midfield has talent and a little more depth than last year, but will need time to gel.

Junior Bryan Volk, a transfer from Towson State as a sophomore, ran on the first midfield and started all but one game last year. Juniors Zippy Mackie and Marshall Brown (Westminster), along with sophomores Scott Schenzer and Steve Hallowell all return. Reitenbach also is high on sophomore Mac Wilson, a soccer standout, who didn't play lacrosse his first year at Western Maryland.

Freshman twins Jeff and Chris Cordisco -- standouts from Glenelg High -- are a left-handed duo who will run together on the first line.

The Green Terror will be looking to improve on its 3-3 conference record of a year ago. It came close in its season finale against traditional power Washington College, holding a 10-9 lead before dropping a 13-10 decision late.

Reitenbach believes it all starts with conference play and the goal is to compete for a conference championship.

"If you can be successful in the conference, the national prominence will take care of itself," he said. "The league is where it all starts. We were 3-3 last year and want to be better this year."

Gettysburg, ranked second nationally, appears head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Franklin & Marshall appears geared toward making a move past Washington with Reitenbach hoping his Western Maryland squad can stay in the mix for second.

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