S. Illinois' Kupec hoping to catch playoff berth



October 15, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Chris Kupec is really too small to be a tight end.

His main reason for being at Southern Illinois is to attend aviation flight school. He had to make the SIU football team as a walk-on.

But here he is, a major weapon in No. 7 Southern Illinois' 6-0 start and drive toward an NCAA Division I-AA playoff berth.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore tight end from River Hill High in Clarksville has seven catches for 97 yards this season, but a team-leading four have gone for touchdowns.

Not bad for a guy who caught only one pass as a freshman. But maybe there was an omen in that catch against Murray State. It was a 5-yard touchdown.

No wonder SIU quarterback Joel Sambursky automatically looks to Kupec near the end zone. "Joel and I have been clicking a lot in the red zone," Kupec said. "I guess he has a lot of trust in me. I like to believe I can catch any pass I get my hands on."

Kupec earned a scholarship this season after sitting out his first year and playing mainly on special teams a season later as a second-year freshman.

"I've been able to move into an apartment partly because of the scholarship," he said. "And it's nice to prove that I belong on this team. My goals here are to help this team make the national playoffs, and I want to be a commercial airlines pilot."

Zabel's haul

A lot of wide receivers would love to be in the John Zabel zone these days.

The 6-2, 182-pound La Salle University sophomore from Mount Hebron High has raised his six-game total to 21 catches for 508 yards and six touchdowns.

Two weeks ago, Zabel caught eight passes for 184 yards and a school-record three touchdowns in a 33-27 loss to St. Francis, Pa., and he came back Saturday with three catches for 46 yards and one touchdown in a 33-31 victory over Marist.

Zabel leads the Explorers (2-4) from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring with 36 points and is second in receiving.

Three former Calvert Hall linemen are also members of the Explorers: freshman defensive lineman Frank Curreri, sophomore defensive lineman Matt Stangeroom and freshman offensive lineman Zach Greaver.

Lacey leads

Sophomore forward Jenny Lacey (Notre Dame Prep) leads the Denison University field hockey team in scoring with 15 points (seven goals, one assist).

Freshman forward Kendell Anders (Roland Park) has one goal and two assists for the Big Red (8-6) of Granville, Ohio. The goal was a game-winner against DePauw.

Three other Baltimore-area standouts have combined to start 24 games for Denison. Senior defender Meg Myers (Severn) has 10 starts, and midfielder Ariana Leo (Dulaney) and freshman defender Caitlin Barry (Severn) each have seven starts.

Et cetera

The Bentley (Mass.) College ice hockey team will be relying on sophomore Jake Plattner (Severna Park) for some offensive help this season after he contributed nine points as a freshman. Bentley picked up its first win of the season Saturday by defeating American International, 6-3, in the consolation round of the Quinnipiac tournament. ... Susquehanna University freshman twins, Katie and Sarah Russell (Glenelg), have combined to start seven games for the 8-4 women's soccer team.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.