Cole can do it all for No. 2 Eagles Soccer: McDonogh's junior midfielder is so versatile that rival and college coaches are drooling over him.

October 12, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

McDonogh's junior midfielder Jon Cole has been the Eagles' Jonny on the spot this season.

Put him on defense, he's an effective stopper there. Put him in the midfield, he'll make the offense flow. Let him go up front, and he'll put the ball in the net -- or help someone else to do it.

And if you ask Calvert Hall coach Bill Karpovich, it's because Cole's "not a complicated player" that he is able to execute so effectively.

"The big thing about Jon that I really like is how simply he plays the game. All the really good players do that," said Karpovich, whose No. 1 Cardinals are 2-2-1 against No. 2 McDonogh (11-2) with Cole in the lineup for the past three seasons.

"When he's got his back to the goal, he's not trying to collect, bring it down and try to beat two or three guys," Karpovich said. "He'll knock it off and turn around and move toward the goal without the ball in order to get the ball back to him. And when he gets it, he's facing the goal -- now he's extremely dangerous."

So impressive are the skills of the 17-year-old Annapolis resident that University of Virginia coach George Gelnovatch sent him a personal invitation by mail to come and see the campus.

Cole, an under-17 national team pool player with a 3.1 grade-point average who scored 1,100 on his PSAT, took that visit a couple of weeks ago with teammate Vinnie Ciarpella.

"Gelnovatch pretty much laid it on the line that getting Jon's his top priority. He wants an oral commitment by Nov. 15 of next fall that Jon's coming there to play," said first-year coach Steve Nichols, whose Eagles (11-2) are ranked No. 21 in the Umbro National Soccer Coaches' Association Poll.

At 6 feet 1, 180 pounds, "Cole's the perfect size," Karpovich said. "And he's got great speed and good strength for a person his size."

Although Cole is the area's top scorer with 10 goals and eight assists, Nichols said "he's a defensive midfielder for his club team," the perennial state cup power Severna Park Top Guns.

"Defensive midfield is his strongest position, but he's so talented -- so physically powerful and technically sound -- that we can't afford not to push him foward," said Nichols. "Jon's got desire, which you can't teach. He's just a fierce competitor."

And on the soccer field, Jon Cole's always where the action is.

In a 3-1 rout of then No. 2 Spalding, Cole was indirectly involved in the scoring of two of the three goals.

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead on Spalding in the 16th minute when freshman forward Kaiser Chowdhry scored off a rebound of Cole's initial shot from six yards out. And Cole gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead over Spalding 12 minutes into the second half with his ninth goal of the season.

He was at it again in last week's 2-0 shutout of Curley, scoring the game-winner with eight minutes gone in the second half.

Though he has 26 career goals and 16 career assists, Cole -- one of the Eagles' three national team pool players -- seems as surprised as anyone at his scoring sucess this season, which includes three game-winning goals.

"I didn't think I'd be going forward, scoring so much, because that's not what I think I'm best at," said Cole, who has set a goal to dethrone Calvert Hall for the Maryland Interscholastic Association A Conference crown. "But whatever it takes, whatever I have to do to help bring the team together -- that's what I'll do."

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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