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Spirit's Neely, Vuckovic are reserves for All-Star Game Players will represent team in Feb. 9 game here; NPSL notebook

Defender Doug Neely calls it a "great honor." Midfielder Bo Vuckovic is "looking forward to representing Baltimore in Baltimore."

Such were the reactions of the two Spirit players yesterday when they were selected as reserves for the National Professional Soccer League All-Star Game on Feb. at the Baltimore Arena.

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"They deserve this," said Spirit and American Conference squad coach Mike Stankovic, who will have his assistant, Cris Vaccaro, on the bench with him during the All-Star Game. "Bo is only in his second year in the league, so it's quite an accomplishment.

"Doug has been great for us this season, not just good. I use him to mark the best scorer on the other teams. He's definitely an All-Star performer."

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Vuckovic, acquired from the Tampa Bay Terror in November, leads the Spirit and is No. 6 in the NPSL with 91 points. Neely, despite missing four games to play for the United States in the World Beach Soccer Championships in Brazil, is third on the team in blocks and second in assists.

"Our team has played so well on defense that everybody deserves this honor -- I'm just an extension of that," said Neely, who will make his third All-Star appearance. "We're probably the hardest-working team in the league as far as getting back on defense. That's rare, and it sure makes my job easier."

The other American Conference reserves: Cincinnati goalie Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay defender Carlos Zavala and midfielders Peter Vermes of Philadelphia, Drew Callahan of Columbus, Nikola Vignjevic of Cleveland and David Bascome of Harrisburg.

The National Conference reserves: St. Louis goalie Jamie Swanner, midfielders Nick DeSantis of Edmonton, Andrew Crawford of Buffalo, Joe Reiniger of St. Louis and Adolfo Mella of Toronto, forward Michael King of Milwaukee and defenders Kim Roentved of Wichita and Kevin Hundelt of St. Louis.

Still another encore

Just when you think Zoran Karic surely must be out of encores, the Cleveland star pulls a stunt like he did last week.

With 19 points in a 30-10 win over the Columbus Invaders, Karic had more than 160 NPSL players accumulated all last season and broke the league record of 18 he shared with teammate Hector Marinaro. With 28 points in two games, he collected more than 190 players did last season.

Small wonder he was named NPSL Player of the Week for the second time this season and 13th time in his career.

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His 28 points broke down this way: three three-point goals, six two-pointers, four one-pointers and three assists.

Karic was the MVP in 1993-94 when he had 267 points and 104 assists, both league records.

Quotes of week

Milwaukee Wave coach Keith Tozer on an overtime loss to the St. Louis Ambush: "We just have to get back on the horse and ride tomorrow." Ride the horse the Wave did, edging St. Louis the next day in OT.

Former defender Walter Schlothauer, who took the first shot ever blocked (Nov. 13, 1984) by Tim Tyma, the current Cleveland star who is the first NPSL player to block 1,000: "It shows he has guts enough, or is nuts enough, to step in front of all those shots."

Pub Date: 1/30/97


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