Frostburg State is off to its best six-game start in the program’s three-year history, and the team has done it without one of its top midfielders.
Junior Lucas Flaig, who led the midfield in scoring in 2011 with 24 goals and five assists but sat out last year after undergoing hip surgery, suffered a broken arm in the preseason and hasn’t played yet. Coach Tommy Pearce said the Pasadena native is expected to have the cast on his arm removed this week, but no target date has been set for his return.
“We don’t have a specific game,” Pearce said. “It’s one of those things where we really have to see how he feels before we put him back in there. It’s in his arm. So he’s been running and he’s been keeping up his cardiovascular fitness. So we’re hoping that as soon as he’s cleared, he’ll be ready to go without missing a beat.”
Junior attackman Ryan Serio, the 2011 Rookie of the Year in the Capital Athletic Conference, has compiled nine goals and four assists in four contests, but he has started just two and was limited to extra-man opportunities in the Bobcats’ 8-7 loss to Elizabethtown on Wednesday.
Pearce said Serio, who missed a majority of last season because of a dislocated shoulder and a broken wrist, has been dealing with several minor ailments this year, and the team is electing to conserve the Chesapeake-AA graduate’s health until conference play begins March 23 against reigning national champion Salisbury.
“We’re really hoping to protect him,” Pearce said. “We don’t want to exhaust him. Last year when he had that shoulder injury, he tried to come back a lot and we lost him before we got to the conference. We want to make sure this year that we have Ryan when we get to the conference. So we’re kind of using him sparingly to try to keep him playing a little bit but also get him healthy.”
The offense doesn’t appear to have lost a step as the unit is averaging 12.5 goals through the team’s 4-2 start. But Pearce said that number was inflated by Frostburg State’s 24-goal explosion against Cazenovia and added that the offense faded in the setbacks to Aurora and Elizabethtown.
A healthier Flaig and Serio could make an impact on the offense, but Pearce said the jury is still out on how the unit would transition with Flaig in the lineup.
“We haven’t really seen a whole lot of it ourselves,” Pearce said. “That’s going to depend on how well he comes in and kind of gels with everybody. We think it could be great or it could take a couple weeks for him to kind of feel his way back into it. We’re certainly hoping. Two years ago, he was our highest-scoring player out of the midfield. Last year, it was [then-freshman] Chris Rios, and this year, it’s been Chris Rios again. So we have to see where he fits in.”