Road remains unkind to Spirit in 22-10 setback 9-0 second period sends Wave crashing to victory

March 09, 1998|By Charles Gardner | Charles Gardner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE -- The Bradley Center was probably the last place the Spirit wanted to be yesterday, facing the powerful Milwaukee Wave one day after being eliminated from playoff contention.

The NPSL's Central Division leader had spotted Baltimore a 10-point halftime lead only to rally for a 14-12 win two games earlier, but the Wave was far less hospitable yesterday, crushing the Spirit, 22-10, before 7,162 at the Bradley Center.

In a game indicative of its score, the Wave (24-10) erupted for nine unanswered points in the second quarter to take control and sent the Spirit (10-26) to its 17th loss in 18 road games.

Yesterday's quick start was just what Wave coach Keith Tozer was looking for.

"We wanted to spend a lot of energy in the first two quarters on them," Tozer said. "We wanted them to be thinking that they would soon be golfing by the third period."

Despite outshooting the hosts 37-31, the Spirit could not do much to rattle goaltender Carmine Isacco, who was making his first start at home for the Wave. Jim McCombs went the full 60 minutes for Baltimore and was roughed up for nine goals, while making 14 saves.

The Spirit was led by Bo Vuckovic (five points) and Denison Cabral (three). Rusty Troy and Richard Cartledge each scored ++ two goals for the Wave.

Goals by Troy (a three-pointer) and Cartledge sparked the Wave to a 5-0 lead. Vuckovic, off a nice feed from Mike Henning, beat Isacco to the top right corner to bring the Spirit within 5-2 at the end of one period.

Everything fell apart in the next period, however, as four Wave players scored against McCombs, who had little chance on any of them.

Pat White's three-pointer at the 10: 31 mark over the outstretched left hand of McCombs proved to be the game-winner.

The Wave would lead by as many as 16 (22-6) in the final quarter, but Baltimore kept the intensity up through the final whistle. The Spirit capitalized on some wide-open play in the final minutes and got goals by Sasha Zoric and Vuckovic to make the score more respectable.

"We did not take them lightly," Tozer said. "We knew this team was going to fight us to the end."

Milwaukee 5 9 0 8 -- 22

Spirit ...2 0 2 6 -- 10

Pub Date: 3/09/98

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