Howard soccer coach Lincoln Phillips was discussing his current team: "We're young, but as our players get to know one another during the season, we'll show improvement."
Pity poor Phillips. He starts four freshmen. Young teams always struggle right? Not quite. The Bison are 2-0, have scored 15 goals and have yet to yield a goal.
Of course, Catholic and Rutgers-Camden, the teams Howard has beaten, are not ready to challenge for the national championship. Nevertheless, Phillips admitted he was pleased with his team's early play.
"We're playing more of a team concept and it's working well. The thing I like best about this team is its attitude. They're fun to coach."
Phillips will get a reading on just how good this team is on Saturday when Bison travel to Long Island to face Adelphi, a team they have an 0-2 career mark against.
While Phillips and Howard are battling Adelphi, Maryland and coach Jim Dietsch will also have something of a challenge on their hands.
The Terps will take part in a tournament in Baltimore this weekend, hosted by Loyola. Also in the field are St. Joseph's (Pa.) and the Terrapins' first-round opponent, San Francisco, the defending national champions.
"I know we're going to have a tough time," said Dietsch. "They have better players than us, simple as that. They're more experienced, too.
"But we proved we can complete by using American kids when we tied Clemson (1-1) last year. We'll just have to play the same way we did then, all over the field. We're coming along well and if we catch them tired or looking past us, who knows? We'll be competitive."
The Terps 3-1, lost their opener at Madison, 2-1, then beat a tough Baltimore team. American and George Washington. Dietsch has a good goalkeeper, sophomore Larry Howell, but his only experienced fullback, senior Donnie Kraft, suffered an ankle injury Saturday, shelving him for three weeks.
Injuries have also hampered American which is 1-4, including a 1-0 loss to Maryland. Starter Doug Dugan was lost for the season on Saturday.
"It's frustrating" said coach Pete Mehlert, "we seem to be right on the verge of beating some of these good teams but can't quite break through. Injuries hurt a team like ours though, because we have so little depth."
Georgetown, which will face American today at [WORD ILLEGIBLE] p.m., has suffered from lack of goals. The Hoyas (0-4-1) have only three goals in five contests. Junior Kervin Murphy has done good work in goal to keep rookie coach Tim Cooneys' team competitive.
Forward Mark Jones scored the Hoyas' goal in the 1-1 tie with George Mason that broke GU's losing streak last week.
George Washington graduated only two starters from last year's 7-5-1 team. But the Colonials droped their first two contests. They will play Catholic at 3 p.m. today.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Brown, who surrendered only five goals a year ago was regarded as the key to coach George Edeline's hopes but he has given up four goals in the two losses thus far.
Catholic is also struggling with an 0-3 start.
Goalie Joe Nichols was injured in the opening 5-4 loss to Salisbury State and since then the defense has been porous.
George Mason is also winless after tying Georgetown in its opener. The Patriots must face the University of Maryland, Baltimore County today before their home opener Friday against Baltimore U.
One of the best teams in the area may also be one of the least recognized. Prince George's Community College, led by superscorer Brian Winstead, is 4-0, following a 14-1 record in 1976.
Winstead, a sophomore from Largo High School, has scored 11 goals this season. He scored 32 last.
"Brian's just got the knack for scoring," coach Ron Mann said. "He's probably the least skilled of my front line players in the technical sense, but he really knows how to find the net.
He's only 5-10 but if the ball is in the air in the panalty area no matter how big the defenders are, he'll get it."
Naturally, a number of major colleges are trying to get Winstead and Maryland appears to have the inside track.