Unbeaten Pointers happy to be ranked with the best


Don't look any longer for Sparrows Point among the "other teams considered" in The Baltimore Sun's Top 15 boys soccer poll.

The Pointers have ascended to new heights, and they're enjoying the view.

A long-awaited victory over Baltimore County 1A-2A League nemesis Overlea last week improved Sparrows Point's record to 5-0 and, more significantly, earned the Pointers a No. 15 metro-area ranking.

"Last year we wanted to make a name for ourselves and this year we wanted to make our mark," said Sparrows Point coach Tom Karle Jr., who was doused with ice water after his team's 4-2 win over then-No. 6 Overlea.

"Our mark now is No. 15, and we worked hard for it."

Senior center-halfback Jeff Harrison has had a lot to do with Sparrows Point's success, having notched 15 goals and 11 assists in six games.

But, like his teammates, he subscribes to the theory that people only remember your last game.

"From now on out, we're approaching every game like it's the championship game because we're ranked now and we know that if we lose it could mean we're not ranked anymore and we want to avoid that," said Harrison, who had 16 goals and eight assists last year.

"We're a lot more skilled this year and Tommy [Karle] has conditioned us a lot so we're in great shape. I have no doubt in my mind we should be able to go 12-0 this year."

The Pointers got halfway there after yesterday's 4-0 win over Owings Mills pushed their record to 6-0.

After losing four double-overtime games and two others by one goal during last year's 6-6 campaign, Sparrows Point has avoided any tense moments by outscoring its first six opponents, 51-4.

The Pointers opened the season with romps over Harford Tech (18-0) and Milford Mill (14-0) before registering more meaningful victories over league rivals Pikesville (7-2), Catonsville (4-0), Overlea and Owings Mills.

Karle has appreciated each victory, but none, he claims, was more satisfying than the triumph over the Falcons.

"The Overlea game was the turning point of our season, it really lit a fire under us," said Karle. "I cried after the Overlea game because I put a lot into this game and whatever happens to these kids means a lot to me."

Junior midfielder Chris Butler, who provided the game-winner against Overlea, has stepped up. Butler, a converted fullback, is the team's second-leading point-getter with 10 goals and five assists, followed by Wayne Brinkley (10, four).

Joey Wilson leads the Pointers and the metro area in assists with 12.

Sparrows Point's defense is led by fullbacks John Sigai and Phil Dicke, stoppers Tom Szewczyk and Greg Smith and much-improved goalkeeper Shannon Butler.

Tomorrow at 3:45 p.m., the Pointers will be put to the test once again when they face Towson, a team that beat them, 3-2, in double overtime last season.

"What really bothered us last year was when teams barely beat us in overtime and then, afterward, acted like it was a lot worse than it was," said Karle, referring to a post-game quote by Towson coach Randy Dase that stated, 'It looked like [Sparrows Point] didn't want to play with us.'

"I've already got the article cut out and I'm going to pin it up on the locker room wall for motivation."

Right next to the Top 15 poll.

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