NPSL team-by-team previews

October 24, 1998|By Phil Jackman

(In projected order of finish)

American Conference


Philadelphia Kixx

Last season: First, 26-14.

Coach: Dave MacWilliams, third season. Career mark: 82-70.

Outlook: Three-time Defender of the Year Matt Knowles, Omid Namazi and Scott Henderson on defense, Pete Pappas in goal and all-stars Kevin Sloan (131 points) and Don D'Ambria (121 points) make Kixx heavy favorite in division.

Baltimore Blast

Last season (Baltimore Spirit): Third, 12-28.

Coach: Kevin Healey, first season.

Outlook: Lance Johnson, Doug Neely, Ronnie Simmons, Derrick Marcano and Todd Hicks provide depth on defense in front of last year's team MVP Khalil Azmi in goal. Newcomers Danny Kelly and Tarik Walker are expected to provide punch along with Shane Dougherty, Denison Cabral and Jason Dieter.

Harrisburg Heat

Last season: Second, 21-19.

Coach: Richard Chinapoo, first season.

Outlook: Defenders Dewan Blader, Larry Julius and newcomer Bryon Mitchell solid in front of goalies Stu Dobson and John Kluba. Heat picked up Gino DiFlorio (177 points) from Cincinnati in a dispersal draft to make up for loss of Danny Kelly to Baltimore.

Florida Thundercats

Last season: New franchise.

Coach: Fernando Clavijo, first season.

Outlook: Netminder Scott Hilerman, who had the second-best goals-against average (10.09) while playing for Edmonton last year, and Juan De La O, who was the backup in Philadelphia, make the Cats solid in goal. The attack will feature John Olo Molomo, Jean Harbor and Mark Thomas, all experienced NPSLers.


Milwaukee Wave

Last season: First, 28-12.

Coach: Keith Tozer, seventh season. Career mark: 313-200.

Outlook: There are several top players, including league MVP and Goaltender of the Year Victor Nogueira and all-star forward Michael King (148 points). Pat White, David Moxom and Chris Jahr are the defensive leaders while Michael Richardson, Pete Hattrup and Todd Dusosky are solid point producers. Ex-Baltimore Spirit Matt Tirschman joins the front line.

Cleveland Crunch

Last season: Second, 21-19.

Coach: Bruce Miller, fourth season. Career mark: 81-39.

Outlook: Forwards Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic have led the NPSL in scoring all six seasons the Crunch has been in the league. Enough said? Goalie Otto Orf is among the league's top four goalies and is ably assisted by defenders Scott Schweitzer ZTC and John Ball.

Montreal Impact

Last season: Third in North Division, 16-24.

Coach: Paul Kitson, second season. Career mark: 48-69.

Outlook: Midfielders Mauro Biello and Giuliano Oliviero and forward Grant Needham are the top point men. Rudy Doliscat lends experience to a young but improving defense in front of goalkeeper Paolo Ceccarelli. Team is switching from North to Central Division this year.

National Conference


Buffalo Blizzard

Last season: First, 21-19.

Coach: George Fernandez, first year. Career mark: 36-44.

Outlook: Leading a veteran cast are goal-scorers Rudy Pikuzinski (139 points) and Bernie Lilavois (66 goals), defenders Bobby DiNunzio and Scott Blokker and goalie Carlos Pena. Midfielder Danny Barber, Pena and Blokker played for coach Fernandez with the defunct Cincinnati Silverbacks last season.

Edmonton Drillers

Last season: Second, 18-22.

Coach: Ross Ongaro, third season. Career mark: 39-41.

Outlook: Netminders Paul Sheperd and Pat Onstad and defenders Todd Rattee and O'Neil Brown along with departed goalie Scott Hilerman (Florida) were the main reasons why the Oilers allowed the fewest points in the league. Martin Dugas, Dominic Mobilio, Sipho Sibiya, Carmen D'Onofrio and Chris Clarke are counted on to provide the offense.

Detroit Rockers

Last season: Fourth, 13-27.

Coach: Pato Margetic, fourth season. Career mark: 151-152.

Outlook: Dennis Brose, who scored his 500th career goal last year, Travis Roy and player-coach Margetic (48 assists) are looking for scoring help from Tati Errecalde, Droo Callahan and Jason Willian to lift Rockers from doldrums. Bryan Finnerty handles the duty in goal while Randy Prescott is an all-star defender.


St. Louis Ambush

Last season: First, 27-13.

Coach: Daryl Doran, seventh season. Career mark: 145-79.

Outlook: They come in droves on this team, led by all-stars Jamie Swanner in goal (24 wins), Kevin Hundelt and player-coach Doran on defense and forwards Joe Reiniger (164 points), Franklin McIntosh and Mark Moser.

Wichita Wings

Last season: Second, 22-18.

Coach: Kevin Kewley, first year.

Outlook: Jason Dunn (101 points) and Erik Rasmussen (90 points) will be joined by Octavio Perez and Curtis Stelzerin a speedier and most versatile attack. Defense is solid with LeBaron Hollimon, Genoni Maretinez and newcomers Andy Cyrus and C. W. Raines in front of goalkeepers Chris Damico and Kris Peat.

Kansas City Attack

Last season: Third, 20-20.

Coach: Zoran Savic, fifth season. Career mark: 101-59.

Outlook: Ex-Baltimore Spirit Bo Vuckovic (148 points) will undoubtedly add dozens of points to Attack returning forwards Shawn Beyer, Novi Marojevic, Jon Parry and Kevin Koetters. Another newcomer is Kevin Legg. Kim Roentved is among the league's best on defense and team has no problem in goal with Scoop Stanisic and Warren Westcoast aboard.

Pub Date: 10/24/98

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