Booters' speed blitzes Terrapins

Eric Yoder
Date Published: 
Daily Collegian

Near the end of the first half of Friday's soccer game, play was stopped so the Maryland Terrapin players could chase away a rabbit frolicking on the field in front of their bench.

Aesop must have written the script. But his original moral was slightly off. Slow and steady may win races, but not soccer games. Penn State's hares streaked past Maryland's tortoises and never looked back. Race results: Penn State 5, Maryland 0.

The four-legged critter was the only rabbit Maryland ever got near. Two others, Rich Reice and Ray Patrick, ran circles around the Terps, leading Penn State to its seventh win in nine games.

"They had too much speed for us," Terp coach Jim Dietsch said. "We just couldn't keep up with them. We were so concerned about stopping them that we ruined our own offense, but we still couldn't stay with them."

Reice and Patrick played at wings on the forward line with Jim Stamatis at striker as part of Lion coach Walt Bahr's experiment to get more zip in the offense. A very successful experiment.

Reice scored twice -- the first on a needle-threader after a nice crossing pass from Patrick and later on a free kick -- and assisted on Stamatis' 10th goal of the season.

"Reice has got to be one of the best forwards in the country," Deitsch said. "Without a doubt, the strength of that team lies in its forwards."

"Their defenders didn't mark very closely," Bahr said. "There seemed to be a lot of openings. I guess our speed had a lot to do with it. We're trying to make good use of it. I thought Patrick and Reice both played very well.

"But it seems that when you solve one problem, you create another. We have a strong forward line, but now we have four very good midfield players and only three positions. We have to jockey the positions now."

Having too many good players for a position is the kind of problem most coaches dream of. Stamatis, the new man in the middle, has a different kind of problem.

"It's a bit more work for me now than before," he said. "The main job of a striker is giving support to the wingers. So when I'm back giving off a pass or something. I really have to take off to catch up to those guys.

"Before, we had a problem of understanding each other. I think we're starting to jell now, though. It's difficult for anyone to cover two good, fast wingers. It's tough enough to contain one, but when you have two . . .

"I can't see any team containing us now. The only time we'll lose is if we beat ourselves."

The Lions haven't beaten the Lions nor has anyone else at Jeffrey Field this year, where Penn State is 5-0. "I wouldn't say that we're tough at home so much, as I'd say we're tough on a big field," Bahr said, "We like to spread out and move the ball around. Some teams aren't used to playing on a legitimate sized field and they have trouble adjusting."

Opponents' efforts at scoring in Penn State's five home games so far have looked pretty impotent, and Friday was no exception. Lions goalie Dan Gallagher made only four saves on his way to his sixth shut-out. One of those saves was a toughie, stopping Claude England, Maryland's leading scorer, on a penalty kick.

CORNER KICKS . . . Defender Bill Klauberg twisted his right ankle late in the game, was carried off. His status is still uncertain . . . Tony Giaimo and Sal Bommarito scored the other goals . . . Stamatis still leads in goals scored, Reice second with nine . . . Reice leads Stamatis in points scored, 15-12 . . . Next game is tomorrow at East Stroudsburg.