Owls' top passer knows soccer score Fiore is force for Westminster


Westminster senior striker Tony Fiore will tell you his strong point on the soccer field is mostly passing.

Look in the Westminster scorebook and you'll see six goals next to his name -- good enough to lead the county this season.

So, what gives?

"I'm the garbage man," said Fiore. "Most of my goals have come off trash left behind in the middle or off a steal."

Fiore has been scoring goals for 12 years -- the last three for the Westminster varsity team. But that's not all he does.

"Tony's got great ball-handling skills and the kids really look to get him the ball," Westminster coach Chuck Beaver said.

"In situations where he has the ball at his feet, he knows exactly where his teammates are. He has a great ability to see the whole field."

At 5 feet 5, 130 pounds, you would think teammates would have trouble finding one of the smallest players on the field, but that's not the case with Fiore, the team's co-captain. And once Fiore collects the ball, he always has an idea of what he wants to do with it.

"My first thought is scoring, whether it's me or someone else," he said. "I first look to see if I have a man in better position. If not, I look to dribble if I have the room."

Fiore has been a starter since dayone as a sophomore. Beaver first played him as an outside midfielder, but moved him inside this year.

"The first year we had him playing outside and he was able to make runs and have his way against most defenders," Beaver said.

"This year, we had some other guys to play the outside, so we moved him inside to try to maintain the middle of the field and he's been very successful.

"His size is of little to no factor at all. He has learned how to use his skills to his advantage and the defender's disadvantage."

Said Fiore: "I feel being shorter keeps me more centered to the ground and I have more balance. I can also draw a couple of calls, too."

A lot of his improvement can be attributed to the Olympic Development Program. The 17-year-old has played in the program for three years.

"Playing with and against the best players in the state really improves your game," he said. "You really have to pick up the pace or else.

The Owls already clinched their first county title in 12 years last week with a win over South Carroll. They close out the regular season tomorrow against North Carroll, trying to make it five straight in the county.

In the teams' first meeting this season, Fiore scored the game-winner 1:24 into the first overtime. He wouldn't mind coming up with a similar effort in what could be his last game as a high school player.

"I saw a cross coming, collected it and lifted it after two dribbles and volleyed it home," he said of the goal.

Now, does that sound like garbage?

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