Roaming Abey gives Cougars breathing room Boys soccer: Teams that don't mark Chesapeake senior striker Dustin Abey pay the price, and even when they do he often manages to feed his teammates for scores.

September 29, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

All Dustin Abey wants is a little space.

In his early days playing soccer, starting when he was 5, the Chesapeake senior was a goalie. He eventually grew bored.

"It was like being in a confined area all the time," he said.

As for the future, he's considering a major in physical education largely because he's "not one to be sitting at a desk all day."

And now? Space is at a premium for one of the county's most respected strikers. With 21 goals and 19 assists thus far on his four-year varsity resume, which includes second-team All-State honors last fall, Abey is a marked man. And that's just fine by him.

"Being heavily marked, I know I have to work extra hard to get open. I have to be constantly moving," he said. "It's a compliment, and it also leaves a lot of opportunities for others. I'm fine with that as long as we're playing like a team and doing well."

With a 6-1 start that has featured balanced scoring, the eighth-ranked Cougars are obviously playing well. Opposing teams are learning fast that if they pay too much attention to Abey, who has four goals and four assists, others up front can make them pay.

Senior striker Billy Adams (five goals, three assists) and senior midfielder Mike McIntyre (five goals) have been the primary game-plan wreckers so far.

"We play the ball to [Abey] in the middle and just run off him," said Adams. "He can distribute either left or right to give us shots. He's like a wall; we know we'll get it right back. And when I give him a good ball, I expect him to finish."

All Abey needs is a little space.

That was apparent Wednesday when Broadneck coach Jon Braun thought his collective defense could contain Abey without specific markers. After the 4-1 Chesapeake win, in which Abey scored three times and had an assist, Braun was second-guessing himself.

"We probably should have marked him," Braun said. "With our NTC defense, I thought we could just put two or three men between him and the goal and we'd be all right. We did, and he beat two or three of our men."

Earl Eckhardt, Chesapeake's coach, said the key to Abey's game is his endless work and the intensity he brings to the field.

"Combine those two attributes with his skills, that makes him a dangerous player," said Eckhardt. "He's our target and is used to playing with his back to the goal -- that's a tough thing to learn. He's very physical on the ball, which enables him to hold and distribute. Always working in tight quarters, he can make opportunities a lesser player wouldn't have seen. And he can pull the trigger."

Abey said he was nervous as a freshman about just making a Chesapeake team. He made the varsity, a rarity for a ninth-grader. He played more and more as the season progressed and made his mark in the county championship game against Severna Park.

"I was on the sideline the whole game having fun, not expecting to play in such a big game," he said. "In overtime, someone got hurt and coach said, 'Abey, let me see what you can do.'

"I chased down a 50-50 ball and took out the keeper. That got me into it. A little later, we had a throw-in and I took it. We scored."

Senior Ryan Frommelt finished Abey's long throw, Chesapeake claimed the county championship with a 3-2 win, and Abey was on his way. He hasn't looked back.

Said Eckhardt: "He threw the heck out of that ball. I could tell

right there we had a special player. He's always been mature beyond his years, physically as well as understanding the game."

Pub Date: 9/29/98

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