Maryland ready for an encore MEN'S PREVIEW

September 16, 1995|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

From three wins to the first NCAA tournament victory in 25 years. Now that's progress.

And Sasho Cirovski, the men's soccer coach at the University of Maryland, doesn't expect it to stop there. His squad, which surprised nearly everyone by going 14-6-1 a year ago and defeating Georgetown to reach the second round of the tournament, is ranked No. 5 nationally and has eight quality starters returning. Among them are junior goalkeeper Russell Payne, who posted eight shutouts and was named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference, and junior striker Shane Dougherty (17 goals), also second-team All-ACC.

The defense, which allowed 30 goals last season, returns one full-time starter, sophomore R. T. Moore. Another player, Chris Preheim, appeared in all 21 games. Leo Cullen moves from midfield to sweeper.

The midfield is talented, experienced and explosive. It's anchored by senior co-captains Tod Herskovitz (eight goals, eight assists) and Doug Smith (three goals, seven assists). Herskovitz was first-team All-ACC and All-South Atlantic Region, and honorable mention All-American. Smith, in his first season at Maryland, scored two game-winning goals.

Adding to Cirovski's enthusiasm is what many people at Maryland consider the most talented freshman class in the program's history.

A rundown of other area teams:

Loyola

In 1992, the Greyhounds had one of the best recruiting classes in college soccer, and since then, they've gone 50-12-4, won three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships and qualified for the NCAA tournament in 1993. The players who entered Loyola then are seniors now, but questions abound. Can the Greyhounds, 15-5-2 last year, replace two-time All-America goalkeeper Zach Thornton and leading scorers Bill Wnek and Doug Willey, who combined for 63 points? Loyola has a proven goalkeeper in junior transfer Joe Schafer, who helped Lynn University to consecutive appearances in the NAIA tournament semifinals and played on the Countryside Lightning team that won the under-19 national title during the summer. Seven starters are back, including All-South Atlantic Region members Marc Harrison (seven goals, nine assists) and David Briles, both midfielders, and defender Chris Doyle. Briles was a member of the gold-medal-winning East team at this summer's U.S. Olympic Festival. Bill Heiser (eight goals, four assists) returns at forward, and he's joined by junior transfer D. G. Lewis, a member of Hartwick's 1993 quarterfinalist.

UMBC

The Retrievers enjoyed their fourth consecutive winning season, going 9-8-1, but the year was filled with adversity. Midfielder J. J. Kremer, the most prolific scorer in UMBC's Division I history, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game. By the 12th game, only five players who started the opener were in the lineup. UMBC went through a six-game winless stretch during the middle of the season, but won its last four. Ten starters are back, but the only seniors are forward Bryan Bugarin (12 goals, two assists), fullback Anthony Adams and midfielder Jorge Stecco. Sophomore forward/midfielder Ted Lawler (five goals, four assists) came on strong late last year. The midfield is deep with six returning players, including junior Derek Phillips (four goals, seven assists). Junior goalkeeper C. J. Norton posted five shutouts.

Towson State

The Tigers have left the Big South Conference, and they hope the switch to the North Atlantic will change their luck. They are coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1987, but coach Frank Olszewski likes this year's team despite its youth. As many as six freshmen started at the same time last season, but three seniors should lead the way: forward Todd Hicks (five goals, six assists), defender Erik Washington and midfielder Chris Smith. Hicks and Washington were first-team All-Big South. Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Stillman had six shutouts. Midfielder Pete Medd is sitting out this season after knee surgery.

Navy

The Midshipmen barely missed the Patriot League playoffs and expect to be at or near the top of the standings this season. Navy has 15 players back, and the forward position is especially strong with senior P. K. Kennedy, juniors Justin Lemmon (five goals, six assists), Shawn Moyer (five goals, five assists) and Aaron Swenson (seven goals, two assists) and sophomore Mike Curtis.

Mount St. Mary's

The Mount advanced to last year's Northeast Conference final behind new coach Mark Mettrick, and rival coaches are picking it to finish second behind Robert Morris. Senior midfielder Matt Gannon returns after scoring six goals last season. Also, the Mount welcomed back the conference's top goaltender, senior Keith Kennedy, who allowed just 16 goals.

UMES

The Hawks were 2-14 last season. Six starters return for coach Sam Douglas, who is 3-56-2 in four years. To improve, the Hawks will need good seasons from, among others, freshman keeper Phillip Thompson, senior midfielder Fitzgerald Williams and junior midfielder Kimandi Binns.

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