Snow's in the forecast and postseason basketball tournaments begin in two weeks. Sounds like a good time to think about soccer.
Cost-containment measures passed at the NCAA Convention last month mean scheduling cutbacks for all of the so-called minor sports. Soccer teams were allowed 22 regular-season games last year, but in 1991 they will be limited to 20, and the two foes cut from Loyola's schedule are Towson State and UMBC.
Greyhounds coach Bill Sento said he liked the local rivalries because of the savings in expenses and the interest they generate. Those considerations were outweighed by strength of schedule, which kept Loyola out of the NCAA field last fall despite a 16-2-5 record and its heritage of reaching the NCAA quarterfinals in 1986 and '87.
"Because of our involvement in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference [one of the nation's worst in Division I soccer], we have to boost our schedule in other ways," Sento said. "After the eight MAAC games we play, we've got 12 solid ones lined up that do well in the power ratings. It's a disappointment, but it doesn't look like we'll be playing Towson State or UMBC in 1992 either."
In 17 meetings with UMBC, Loyola is 15-0-2. Against Towson State, it has a 31-14-3 lead in a series that dates back to the 1940s. Towson State last beat the Greyhounds in 1984, but Tigers coach Frank Olszewski said his team was closing the gap in recent years.
"The way our players are looking at it, the game was too close for comfort last year," Olszewski said. "Personally, I don't think we kept them out of the NCAA tournament."
One development last week that did please Olszewski was the news that Towson State has officially applied for membership in the North Atlantic Conference. The Tigers are two-time champions of the East Coast Conference, but the North Atlantic champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAAs.
* On the recruiting front, Loyola has only one signed letter of intent, but it's a big one. Bill Heiser, a striker/midfielder from Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt, is a first-team Parade All-American and was a member of the under-16 national team. Towson State got Dulaney midfielder Chas Zimmerman in tow yesterday.
The priority at UMBC is naming a new coach. The Retrievers received more than 70 applications for a job vacated by John Ellinger last fall. They have whittled the list down to five finalists, and the last one, Essex Community College and Maryland Bays boss Pete Caringi, will be interviewed tomorrow.
Maryland, Navy, Towson State and five others are in the Budweiser Chesapeake Indoor Invitational at Myers Pavilion Saturday.
* There is more than one stud named Stewart at Coppin State.
Larry Stewart is headed to a second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year award in basketball, and Anthony Stewart -- no relation -- was the Outstanding Performer at the MEAC indoor track and field championships.
A freshman from Delcastle, Del., Stewart set meet records in the 1,500 meters (4:07.1) and 3,000 (9:08.8), and ran on a 4 X 800 relay that placed second. He keyed a third-place finish for the Eagles in a meet in which UMES and Morgan State placed eighth and ninth, respectively. The progress pleases coach Don Webster, who used to assist at Morgan State.
Mount St. Mary's had both Outstanding Performers at the Northeast Conference championships. Sophomore Rob Pendergist took the men's honor, and Laurie Smith, a junior from Manchester, Conn., was the top women's point-getter.
* A little more than a year ago, Chris Lafferman signed a letter of intent to play football at Towson State. The All-Metro quarterback for Poly, Lafferman went on to a strong baseball season and was named High School Athlete of the Year by The Evening Sun.
Lafferman decided to play baseball for the Tigers, and coach Mike Gottlieb was satisfied with his on-field progress last fall. The coach, however, was not pleased with Lafferman's academics, and when Towson State opens March 7 at George Washington, Lafferman won't be suited up. He's spending the semester concentrating on his studies.
Another strong arm you won't be seeing much of belongs to David Partin. A freshman from Lakewood, Calif., he was the Morgan State quarterback for much of last season, but has transferred to Boise State.