Howard County boys soccer previews

September 04, 1997|By Rick Belz

Atholton Raiders

1996 record: 2-11 overall; 1-8 league

Coach: Roch DeFrances

Classification: 2A

Top players: Aaron Brown, senior, GK; Danny Dworkin, junior, M; Justin Pak, sophomore, F; Pat Thomas, junior, M; Jeff Shaivitz, senior, D

Outlook: DeFrances, 45, is the new Raiders' coach, a county police officer and former teacher who coached boys soccer 11 years at Cardinal Gibbons and two years at Catonsville Community College. He replaces 17-year veteran Reg Hahne, who stepped down three weeks before practice began. Hahne said that additional responsibilities as the new head of the school's technology department made him decide not to coach. DeFrances said that the team will be strong in the midfield with Dworkin and Thomas but needs to develop defensively, especially on the outside defense. The Raiders will feel the loss of All-County goalkeeper Andy Walter, who graduated. "I have 11 talented kids, a lot more talent than I ever had at Gibbons, but I'm a little apprehensive because the overall talent level of Howard County is so high. I'm impressed by the team's attitude and intelligence."

Chapelgate Christian Flames

League: MIAA C Conference

1996 record: 13-6

Coach: Rob Van Ness

Top players: Chris Davidson, junior, M; Ben Byrd, junior, M; Nathan Brenneman, senior D; Chris Blanchard, junior, M.

Outlook: The Flames return eight starters and 14 players as they join the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference this season, after finishing second in the Christian Schools Athletic Association last season. Davidson (nine goals, three assists) is the top offensive returnee, but the Flames will need to develop another scoring threat. Brenneman is the sweeper in charge of a defense that promises to be the team's strength.

Centennial Eagles

1996 record: 14-1 overall, 9-0 league, county champs)

Coach: Ron Martin

Classification: 2A

Top players: Mike Dramby, junior, GK; Stuart Kessler, senior, M; Matt Hewitt, senior, M; Pat Lee, senior, D; Tim Kaufman, senior, D; Andres Conejo, senior, M; Chris Moe, senior, F; Mike Martin, junior, F; Nate Zachman, freshman, M-D; Todd Sajauskas, sophomore, D/M; Eric Long, sophomore, M-D.

Outlook: The seven-time state champion Eagles return just two starters and seven lettermen. Their 45-game winning streak was snapped by Thomas Stone in a Class 3A state semifinal shootout that also ended Centennial's hopes for a third straight state title. The Eagles, winners of six straight county titles, are considered to be a middle-of-the-pack team this season but have a 30-game league winning streak alive. They're also 41-0-3 in the league since Oakland Mills beat them in 1990. That streak will get its first test Sept. 19 when they play Bill Stara's River Hill Hawks, this season's favorite for the county title. "We're not the power of old," said second-year coach Martin. "But we still have experience. We're not going undefeated, but we're not as 'bottom' as people project us to be." The team expects to be strong at midfield. Dramby is a good keeper. Lee will play sweeper. Kessler is an experienced midfielder.

Glenelg Gladiators

1996 record: 6-8 overall, 3-6 league

Coach: Peter Klisas

Classification: 1A

Top players: Justin Benoliel, senior, GK; Jeremy Shry, senior, D; Mike Farley, senior, M; Dave Harris, senior, F-D; Yuri Itkin, junior, M; Chad Marshall, senior, M; Jason Weszka, sophomore, D; Brian Musgrove, senior, F; Alex Blazek, senior, M

Outlook: A victory over Wilde Lake during the regular season was Glenelg's highlight a year ago. The Gladiators expect a similar season, hoping to knock off a top team and win six or seven games. Six starters return. Benoliel is crucial to the defense, but a knee problem has him sidelined at least temporarily. Harris will play sweeper or forward and is a key player. "Our strength is midfield and goalkeeper. We need more depth on defense and some help up top," said Klisas, a second-year coach. He may keep as many as four freshmen, two of whom, Eric Kuba and Greg Moore, should play a lot.

Glenelg Country Dragons

1996 record: 11-6-1 overall, 7-3 MIAA C Division

Coach: Craig Shale

League: MIAA C Conference

Top players: Dan Liparini, junior, F; Kolin Leishman, sophomore, M; Nick Woodford, senior, D; C.J. Bowles, sophomore, GK; Ed Kernan, senior, M

Outlook: The Dragons return 10 starters from an MIAA C Conference co-championship team. Liparini (seven goals, five assists) and Leishman (13 goals, 10 assists) lead the offense. Woodford is the sweeper and Kernan a defensive midfielder. The team, which started five freshmen last season, went from last place to first place in one season under Shale, who starts his second season as coach. "We just got an influx of great freshmen last season. The league should be tougher this season, because St. Peter and Paul and Chapelgate, both teams that beat us last season, join the MIAA league in our division," Shale said.

Hammond Golden Bears

1996 record: 8-8 overall, 4-5 league

Coach: Rich Corkran

Classification: 1A

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