Terps lose a bunch, but don't miss a step 'Freshmen-plus' fill gaps for ACC favorite Maryland

Division I soccer preview

September 11, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

If the Maryland men's soccer team had been forced to deal with the loss of nearly half of its starting lineup a decade ago, the Terrapins would have been in a state of panic. But there's a different attitude in College Park nowadays.

When starters depart, the Terrapins just replace them with top-flight recruits. Different names, same talent level.

So when fifth-year coach Sasho Cirovski graduated his entire back line and saw goalkeeper Andy Kirk and midfielder Judah Cooks bolt early to Major League Soccer's Project-40 program, he simply re- stocked with two national players of the year -- defender Nick Downing and midfielder Taylor Twellman -- as well as Parade All-American defensive midfielders Dan Califf and Beckett Hollenbach.

This blue-chip recruiting class has become a major reason why Maryland is on most publications' preseason top 10 lists and the favorite for the Atlantic Coast Conference title.

"The group of players we have coming in aren't just freshmen, they are freshmen-plus," Cirovski said. "There is a tremendous character and sense of maturity with this group. Many of them are mature beyond their years."

The Terps will mix their youth with several experienced offensive weapons, including All-America candidates Keith Beach, Pierre Venditti, Steve Armas and Randy Merkel.

In total, Maryland returns seven of its top eight scorers from a year ago, when the Terps finished 16-6-1 and advanced to a school-record, fourth straight NCAA tournament second-round appearance. Although an upset loss to Seton Hall last week dropped the Terps to No. 22, they still remain focused on capturing the school's first national championship.

"For me, it is perhaps the most exciting season I have entered into since my second year here," Cirovski said. "There is going to be a level of energy and enthusiasm this year that is unmatched."

A look at the rest of the area's Division I teams:



Coach: Bill Sento

1997 record: 9-10-2 (7-2 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)

Top players: Peter Troilo, Jr., D; Eric Coles, Sr., D; Christof Lindenmayer, Jr., F/MF; Mike Werle, Soph., D; Miguel Abreu, Fr.; MF/F; John Farese, Fr., F; Andrew Ogilvie, Fr., MF; Ryan Scharfenberger, Soph., F/MF; Dave Frieder, Sr., GK.

Outlook: The Greyhounds had one of their most disappointing seasons under Sento, ending their eight-year MAAC championship reign. Loyola looks to rebound quickly with seven returning starters and 14 newcomers, including Abreu, a two-time high school All-American and the New Jersey Player of the Year. "We went through some adversity last year, there's no question about that," Sento said. "We're really looking to put last year completely behind us."


Coach: Pete Caringi

1997 record: 5-12-2 (2-4-1 in Big South)

Top players: Ted Lawler, Sr., F; Ryan Lampton, Soph., F; Ryan Cuomo, Soph., F; Kurt Meyers, Jr., MF; Matt Joseph, Fresh., MF; P.J. Wakefield, Fresh., MF; Matt Gormley, Soph., MF/D; Billy Nelson, Soph., D/MF; Mike Griffith, Jr., GK.

Outlook: After 15 straight winning seasons, Caringi has seen the Retrievers slip to 9-9-1 in 1996 and to 5-12-2 last year. Yet he is extremely optimistic about UMBC's first season in the Northeast Conference, with several strong area recruits as well as the return of Lawler, last season's Big South Player of the Year, and six seasoned sophomores. "This is the best recruiting class we've had here," Caringi said.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Mark Mettrick

1997 record: 10-6-2 (2-2-2 in Northeast Conference)

Top players: Simon Hodkin, Jr., MF; Duncan Gladwin, Jr., F; Jeff Link, Sr., MF; Chris Hallatt, Soph., MF; Daniel Gerrard, Fr., D/MF; Greg Loftus, Sr., MF; Rob Ray, Soph., GK; Brian Wright, Fr., F/MF.

Outlook: The Mountaineers lost six starters and a dozen letter-winners, which included Mark Southern, the school's all-time assists leader. Hodkin and Gladwin, who combined for 20 goals and 15 assists last year, will control the ball up front.


Coach: Greg Myers

1997 record: 6-11-1 (2-4 in Patriot League)

Top players: Stephen Earl, Sr., F; Matt Neely, Jr., F; Michael Paisant, Soph., F; David Perry, Sr., MF/D; Brye Gerhardt, Fr., MF; Kevin Campbell, Sr., GK; Duane Hess, Sr., MF; Mike Bagrosky, Jr., MF; Brian Lubitz, Jr., D.

Outlook: Myers, entering his 23rd season, will be banking on his defense while trying to find a way to improve the Midshipmen's scoring (1.2 goals per game), with five of their top seven scorers back. The defense took an unexpected blow when senior Alan Baca suffered a broken leg and is out indefinitely. "If we're going to be a serious threat to anyone, it's got to start on defense," Myers said.


Coach: Frank Olszewski

1997 record: 9-8 (3-6 in America East)

Top players: Richie Moller, Sr., F; Andy Stroud, Sr., D; Kevin Henderson, Sr., MF; Ethan Jennings, Sr., GK; Peter Medd, Sr., M; Chris Carpenter, Jr., MF; Colin Crew, Soph., D; Matt DeOrsey, Sr., F; Frank Sweeney, Sr., MF.

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