Terps Start Season Friday With Jacksonville, South Florida
Aug. 28, 2000
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The 16th-ranked Terrapin men's soccer team closes the door on preseason camp and opens the 2000 season this weekend at the Virginia/Coca-Cola Classic tournament on Sept. 1 and 3 in Charlottesville, Va. Maryland will enter the classroom on Wednesday, and hit the field Friday at 5 p.m. when it meets Jacksonville to open the tournament. The Terps close the tournament on Sunday against South Florida at noon.
Looking at Opponent No. 1: Jacksonville Dolphins
With a 12-5-1 record in 1999, the Jacksonville Dolphins enter Friday's game with a very young lineup, including 17 freshman on its 27-man roster. The Dolphins have two seniors, goalkeeper Peter Popovic and forward Mladen Dikic. Popovic was the Dolphins' starter last season, and finished with a 1.59 goals against average. He allowed 29 goals and had 88 saves in 18 starts and finished the season with one shutout. Dikic was Jacksonville's second-leading scorer last season with 13 goals and four assists. He led the team with three game-winning goals, and scored his 13 goals off just 43 shots. The Dolphins have not appeared in the NCAA tournament since 1998.
Maryland Vs. Jacksonville
Maryland and Jacksonville have met only one other time in series history. The Terps defeated the Dolphins 3-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1998. Christian Lewis (Ellicott City, Md.) earned the shutout, and the Terps outshot Jacksonville 17-2.
Looking at Opponent No. 2: South Florida Bulls
South Florida finished the 1999 season with a 10-7-0 and failed to make the NCAA tournament field. Matt Cavanaugh returns as the Bulls' top scorer from 1999 with three goals and eight assists. The departure of 1999 starting goalie Bubby Leasure will leave either sophomore Chris Simpson or one of two other freshman in the net for the Bulls. None of South Florida's keepers on its 2000 roster have any collegiate minutes under their belt in goal.
Maryland Vs. South Florida
The match-up Sunday between Maryland and South Florida will be the second ever in series history. The Terrapins won the first match-up 4-1 on November 22, 1969 in the first round of the NCAA tournament to earn a trip to the national semifinals in San Jose.
Downing Up For Hermann Again
Junior co-captain Nick Downing (Redmond, Wash.) has been named as one of the finalists for college soccer's most prestigious honor, the Hermann Trophy, as announced by the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Downing, a two-year starter on defense for the 16th-ranked Terrapins, was also a finalist for the award his sophomore year. A selection board comprised of college coaches from each region of the country participated in picking the finalists, who will now be listed on official ballots that will go out to all coaches and selected media on Oct. 15. The winners of the 2000 Hermann Trophy will be announced Saturday, Dec. 9 at a reception ceremony in Charlotte, N.C., in conjunction with the Men's 2000 College Cup.
Downing is one of four ACC players up for the Hermann Trophy, which is regarded as the Heisman Trophy of collegiate soccer. The ACC had more student athletes nominated for the award, more than any other conference. The Big Ten was next in line with three nominees.
Two Terps Earn Preseason Honors
Downing and Hollenbach are both two-year starters on Maryland's defense. Downing is serving his first year as team co-captain, while Hollenbach is in his second. Downing finished the 1999 season with six assists, including a three-assist performance against American in the Terps' 4-1 win and was a second-team All South Atlantic Region selection.
Hollenbach fought injury most of the season, but still earned second team All-ACC honors. The Pennsylvania native pitched in an assist for the Terps in their 2-0 win over NC State on Sept. 19 for his only points of the year. He has three goals and six assists for his career.
Head Coach Sasho Cirovski
Entering his eighth year at Maryland, head coach Sasho Cirovski has compiled a 90-52-14 (.622) record. A 1988 graduate of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cirovski owns a 116-64-14 (.643) through his first nine years of head coaching. Cirovski sits just 10 wins away from the 100-win plateau at Maryland. Cirovski has 14 or more wins each of his last six seasons.
Tough Schedule for the Terps
The Maryland men's soccer team has been voted the No. 16 team in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America preseason poll. The Terrapins compiled a record-tying 14 regular-season wins during the 1999 season, and spent two weeks as Soccer America's No. 1 team in the country.
This season, the Terrapins will face eight teams ranked in the Top 25, including playing host to defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Indiana on Sept. 8 in College Park. Then-No. 2 Maryland met then-No. 1 Indiana last season in both team's season openers in Bloomington, Ind., with the Terps surrendering a 1-0 win to the Hoosiers. No. 1 Indiana will join No. 10 Virginia and the No. 16 Terrapins for what is perhaps the top tournament in the country -- the FILA/Maryland Classic on Sept. 8-10.
Other match-ups on the Terrapin schedule with ranked teams include four Atlantic Coast Conference tilts. Always a powerful conference in collegiate men's soccer, the ACC has more teams ranked in the preseason NSCAA poll than any other conference and start the season with five Top 25 teams. Maryland will host two of the ACC's ranked teams in No. 7 Duke (Sept. 24) and No. 24 North Carolina (Oct. 7). The Terps travel to meet the other two, No. 11 Wake Forest on Sept. 30, and No. 10 Virginia to end the regular season on Nov. 3. The remaining ranked teams on the Terps' schedule include an exhibition meeting with No. 15 St. John's, a Sept. 13 meeting with UMBC and an away match-up with No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth on Oct. 14.
A Quick Look at The Terps
The Terps return a strong line-up despite the departure of All-Americans Taylor Twellman (1998-99) and Dan Califf (1998-99) to the professional ranks. Junior captains Nick Downing and Beckett Hollenbach join senior starter Mike Shebuski (Bloomington, Minn.) on defense for Maryland. Two-year starter senior Christian Lewis also returns in goal for the Terrapins after undergoing off-season back surgery. Senior and two-year starter Rob Birch (West Islip, N.Y.) will anchor the midfield with a host of underclassmen meshing together to provide the offensive firepower the Terps will need to climb in the standings. This season, the Terps are looking for their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, and another run at the College Cup, which will be contested on Dec. 8 and 10 in Charlotte, N.C.
Seven Newcomers Joins Terps
The Maryland men's soccer family welcomed seven new members when they opened camp just over two weeks. Three freshman from just around the Beltway in Fairfax, Va., highlight a class full of future stars. Jason Arnold (Fairfax Station, Va.), Clarence Goodson (Springfield, Va.), and Abe Thompson (Fairfax Station, Va.) are all member of the Braddock Road Warhawks, which won the 1999 U-17 national club championship. Thompson is also a striker on the U.S. U-20 National team, and scored all four goals in the team's victory over the East Region team at the recent U.S Soccer festival.
Fellow classmate Phillip Salyer (Dallas, Texas) is also a member of the U-20 team and should contest for a spot as a left back or a left side midfielder. New Jersey native Matt Roberts (Hillsborough, N.J.), attacking midfielder Bryan Vitagliano (Scottsdale, Ariz.), and midfielder Seth Stammler (Gahanna, Ohio) complete another strong recruiting class for the Terrapins entering the 2000 campaign.
Lewis Back In Goal
Senior starter Christian Lewis returns in goal for the Terrapins this season, his third in the starting role. Lewis had trouble last year with a nagging back injury, even missing four starts midway through the 1999 season. One of two Maryland natives on the Terps' squad, Lewis underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in the offseason and has returned in excellent condition. He went 1-0-0 in the Maryland/FILA Preseason College Kick-off Tournament, allowing no goals and tallying seven saves.
Junior Kevin Schmidt (Westfield, N.J.) draws the back-up assignment, and will push Lewis throughout the season. Schmidt made five starts last season when Lewis was sidelined with back pain. The junior went 4-1 during that stint, including two shutouts. Schmidt was in goal during the Terps' overtime win against William & Mary, making key saves to keep the Terps alive before Taylor Twellman deposited the golden goal. In the Maryland/FILA Preseason College Kick-off, Schmidt saw almost 59 minutes of action. He allowed one goal against Georgetown and made two saves throughout the weekend's action, both against the Hoyas.
Who Are Those Guys?
While the Terrapins may look different in the attack than last season, don't underestimate the Maryland offense in any way. The Terrapins lost over 55 percent of the their goal-scoring from the 1999 season with the graduation of Jason Cropley (1996-98), departure of Taylor Twellman (1998-1999) to the Bundesliga and decision by Jason Sardis (1997-99) to focus on his academic pursuits. Maryland still returns several key starters in A.J. Herrera (5 goals, 5 assists), Scott Buete (2 goals, 8 assists), and Siba Mohammed (4 goals, 6 assists). Add to that Under-20 national team standout Abe Thompson, club teammates Jason Arnold and Clarence Goodson, Arizona native Bryan Vitagliano, and young upstart Seth Stammler, who earned a start both days during the Maryland/FILA Preseason College Kick-off, and the Maryland offense fields an attack that should surprise some people.
The Offense in the FILA Kick-off
Maryland's offense netted two goals in the Terps' final preseason action over the weekend. Freshman Seth Stammler didn't waste much time finding the goal in his first collegiate start, scoring just 18:30 minutes into the game. A.J. Herrera provided the assist on the goal after settling a corner kick from co-captain Nick Downing. The goal would be the game-winner, but Stammler will have to repeat the feat during the regular season to make the official stat sheet for the 2000 season.
Sophomore Reed Rickert (Sewickly, Pa.) scored the Terps' other goal in the FILA preseason tournament, a header off a Scott Buete cross. Georgetown would answer later to make the final tally 1-1. Rickert netted two goals last season, and will add to the Terrapins' striker rotation this fall.
Maryland's All-American Defense
If the key to a good offense is good defense, the Terrapins have a lot to be excited about this season. Returning in the back are co-captains Nick Downing and Beckett Hollenbach, both potential All-Americans for the Terps. Downing is also one of 15 finalists for the Hermann Trophy. On the right side, senior Mike Shebuski returns for one last tour of duty. Shebuski is the only returning Terp to start all 20 games for Maryland last season. On the left side, national team defender Philip Salyer fills a hole left by the departure of Dan Califf to MLS to solidify Maryland's defense.
Birch in the Middle
With midfielders a plenty for Maryland this season, it will be Rob Birch's job to organize the Terps. Birch is a three-year starter for the Terrapins and will be a key to their success in the midfield this year. One of four seniors, Birch added four assists to the offensive effort last season.
Califf Headed to Sydney
Former Terrapin men's soccer standout Dan Califf was part of the 18-man roster released by U.S. Soccer on Aug. 14, which will represent the United States at the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Califf, a first team All-ACC selection last season for the Terps, was a two-year starter on defense for Maryland before opting to make himself eligible for the MLS draft last season. The California native was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy as the sixth pick overall in the MLS Draft. He finished his Maryland career with three goals and three assists for nine points.