In a pinch, Dieter fills many roles Spirit plays all positions in team's busy weekend

NPSL notebook

March 04, 1997|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

In the space of 24 hours, Jason Dieter demonstrated why he is the most versatile player in Spirit history.

In Friday night's loss to the Edmonton Drillers, he played forward. In Saturday's loss to the Harrisburg Heat, he played midfield. In Sunday's win over the Toronto Shooting Stars, he played defender.

Oh, and a little as goalkeeper, too.

When Joe Mallia was penalized in the Toronto game, with the Spirit safely ahead 24-6 in the fourth quarter, Dieter volunteered to fill in. The team's other goalies, Cris Vaccaro and Jim McCombs, didn't make the trip.

As a goalie, Dieter is a very good forward-midfielder-defender. In 1 minute, 55 seconds, he faced two Toronto shots, both of which got by him, and had no saves.

For the weekend, the former Archbishop Curley High and UMBC star had four goals, one block and this quote: "I think goalkeeper is my worst position."

Ernst does it, too

Tim Ernst pulled a similar stunt in the Detroit Rockers' win over the St. Louis Ambush, with a hat trick, five blocked shots and 11 saves on 12 shots in the goal for nine minutes while Bryan Finnerty was in the penalty box.

That was good for NPSL Co-Player of the Week with Scoop Stanisic, who helped Harrisburg inch into first place in the NPSL's East Division with 41 saves in victories over Edmonton and the Spirit.

Cleveland's Zoran Karic was Offensive Player of the Month for February with 50 points in five games, all victories. Milwaukee defender Ricky Mobley won the defensive award after scoring four points, blocking 30 shots and marking some of the league's most prolific scorers while the team went 8-2.

Favre helps Wave

Last Friday night, Milwaukee drew the largest crowd (17,617) in the NPSL's 13-year history thanks in part to Brett Favre of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

For weeks, the Wave trumpeted his impending appearance. The quarterback tossed autographed footballs to the throng as part of a charity event for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Attendance broke the record of 17,603 at a St. Louis game last March.

Quote of week

The Columbus Invaders' Drew Callahan, on scoring a game-winning overtime goal after playing despite bronchitis: "I just wanted to get off the field. I haven't been able to breathe for five days."


Detroit's Dennis Brose became the first player other than Cleveland's Hector Marinaro and Karic to reach 200 points in one season. The Spirit's Doug Neely played in his 100th NPSL game Sunday, good for fifth on the club's all-time list behind Dieter, Barry Stitz, Lance Johnson and Vaccaro.

Spirit tonight

Opponent: Tampa Bay Terror

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7: 35

Radio: Updates after each quarter on WWLG (1360 AM) and WASA (1330 AM)

Outlook: This is the final game in the Spirit's stretch of four in five days. The club was 1-2 in its three-in-three-days over the weekend. Bobby Joe Esposito (pneumonia) and player-coach Mike Stankovic (knee) are questionable. Chris Brown, cut by the Spirit during training camp, was signed last week by the Terror. Tampa Bay (10-23) has won two of its past three games to move closer to clinching a playoff berth.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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