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Men's Soccer Makes Strides in 2003
11/14/2003

FROSTBURG, MD – After a disapointing 2002 season that ended with an 8-9-2 record, second-year head coach Keith Byrnes and the 2003 Frostburg State men's soccer team fought through a rough 0-3 start to finish 10-7-2 on the season.

With the help of 11 returning players and a talented recruiting class, the Bobcats finished the regular season tied for first place in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, were regionally ranked and received a post-season bid to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic Tournament.

The Bobcats faced regionally ranked opponents in their first three games, all of whom had seen action in the NCAA Tournament in recent years.

In their season opener against Christopher Newport, the Red and Black were narrowly edged 1-0 after a CNU tally late in the first half. Next, the Bobcats faced Virginia Wesleyan at the Blue Marlin Classic where they were ousted in a 2-1 double overtime battle. FSU was handed its third straight one-goal loss when it fell 1-0 to host Gettysburg.

The Bobcats then embarked on a tear of successful play, including an eight-game unbeaten streak. Byrnes was confident that his squad would rally back. "We never put our heads down," said Byrnes. "We're a good team and when we play well together we can win soccer games.

In their home opener, the Bobcats came together, posting a 3-2 win over AMCC opponent Penn State Altoona. Next, the Red and Black bested visiting Bethany 3-1, where sophomore Kodjo Gnatiko (Montgomery Blair/Montgomery Village, Md.) tallied two of his four goals of the season.

The Bobcats continued their unbeaten streak with a 1-1 draw against Alvernia, a 1-0 win over Washington & Jefferson that included freshman keeper Tom Sadler's (Sandy Spring Friends Silver Spring, Md.) first career shutout, and another 1-1 tie, this time with regionally ranked Division II California (Pa.).

FSU moved on to rout conference opponent Lake Erie 7-1, then improved its AMCC record to 3-0 with a 4-0 blanking of La Roche where sophomore All-AMCC first-team selection Matt Moffa (Eastern Tech/Baltimore, Md.) scored a hat trick, including the game-winner. Moffa, who finished the season with eight goals and two assists, led the squad in the next match as well, tallying another game-winner as FSU dismissed conference opponent Pitt-Bradford, 4-0.

The Bobcats suffered their first loss in nine games at the hands of Division II Pitt-Johnstown in a narrow 2-1 decision, but were quick to get back on track with a 2-0 shutout of visiting Waynesburg.

Next, the Bobcats enjoyed a clutch 1-0 win over conference foe Pitt-Greensburg, improving the squad to 5-0 in the AMCC. Sadler earned his second shutout and freshman Stephen Zoutman (Goshen/Chester, N.Y.) tallied the game-winner.

The Red and Black continued their solid play with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Westminster. Junior Jon Roth (Magruder/Gaithersburg, Md.) tallied the tying goal before junior Jamie Romano (John Carroll/Joppatowne, Md.) notched the game-winner in the 59th minute.

FSU was then bested by rival Penn State Behrend 2-0 in a crucial AMCC showdown. The Lions and the Bobcats both finished 5-1 in league play, but Behrend snagged the No. 1 seed in the AMCC Tournament due to the head-to-head victory.

In the AMCC semifinals, the Bobcats handed UPG another shutout loss. Zoutman scored his fifth goal of the season in the 53rd minute off a perfect service from freshman Dave Stinson (Urbana/Ijamsville, Md.) who capped the scoring with a tally in the 85th minute.

In the hard-fought AMCC Championship match, FSU was edged by PSB, 1-0.

The Bobcats were rewarded for their solid season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic Tournament. Second-seeded FSU faced seventh-seeded McDaniel in the first round, but came up short, losing 4-1 and completing its season.

The Bobcats bid farewell to seniors Mike Mutchler (Leonardtown/Leonardtown, Md.), Rob Burns (Joppatowne/Joppatowne, Md.) and Nate DePasquale (N.Stafford/Stafford, Va.), the trio of defenders that propelled them into the post-season.

"This year was more fun as we were able to bring in some of our own players," said Byrnes. "We knew what to expect with the returners and the the team gelled well, creating chemistry which was definitely one of the strong aspects of our team. I'm pleased with the improvement from last season."

Byrnes said he is excited about the start of his third season.

"We are always excited to bring in new talent to improve our level of play, and we have some great players interested in our program. We should be able to benefit from the experience of our returners and it should not take us as long to come together."

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780
E-mail: sportsinfo@frostburg.edu