Vuckovic's slide at end kills hopes for award Monthly honor now likely to go to Karic or Brose

December 31, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Until almost the very end of the month, the Spirit's Bo Vuckovic looked like a strong candidate for National Professional Soccer League Player of the Month.

But last weekend, his bid was reduced to tatters. The Spirit, which won four of its first five December games, lost to the Philadelphia Kixx and Cincinnati Silverbacks. And Vuckovic, who finished with 31 points this month, was restricted to two in the final two games.

As a result, the Cleveland Crunch's Zoran Karic or the Detroit Rockers' Dennis Brose is likely to win the award. They are one-two, respectively, in the NPSL scoring race.

Karic, who will conclude his month tonight when the Crunch confronts Cincinnati, became the third player in NPSL history (behind Cincinnati's Franklin McIntosh and Crunch teammate Hector Marinaro) to score 1,000 points in his career when he recorded seven against the Milwaukee Wave on Saturday night.

Brose had 41 points in nine games this month and Saturday night joined Marinaro as the league's only 400-goal scorers with three against the Harrisburg Heat for 401.

Stage set for Holness

The regular season is 40 games, but the Edmonton Drillers' Kevin Holness could set an NPSL record for games played with 45 if he doesn't miss any.

When he was traded by the Toronto Shooting Stars to Edmonton, Toronto had played five more games than Edmonton. The Drillers have now played 14 games, but Holness has been in 19. The record is 42, a mark that is shared by five players.

Quote of week

Edmonton coach Ross Ongaro, a former NPSL All-Star with Milwaukee: "This game is unforgiving. I practice with the guys sometimes and every old injury I ever had comes out the next day."

Miscellaneous

In his pro debut, No. 1 NPSL draft choice Shane Dougherty (Fallston High, University of Maryland) pleased Spirit coach Mike Stankovic during three shifts in Saturday's loss in Cincinnati. Harrisburg's David Bascome achieved the cycle (three-point goal, two-pointer, one pointer, assist) for the third time in his career, marking the 68th time in NPSL history it has been done. The Kansas City Attack's Lee Tschantret is Player of the Week for the first time in his seven NPSL seasons with 13 points in victories over Cleveland and Edmonton. He is the third Kansas City player to win the award in December; the Attack has won four straight and 11 of its last 12. Lance Johnson, on the disabled list twice this season, is probable for the Spirit's three-games-in-three-days stretch this weekend. Stankovic and Mike Henning (knees) are questionable. Branko Segota, out almost six weeks following knee surgery, is expected to start running this week and be outfitted with a brace.

Pub Date: 12/31/96

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