Ibrahim Ibrahim. Clemson soccer coach, was talking to his players at halftime of the Tigers' game at Maryland yesterday. His team, which would eventually win the game, 2-1, was leading 1-0. But Ibrahim was not pleased.
"Every time the ball is loose they're beating you to it," he said sternly. "They're just outhustling you. They're playing as if their lives depended on it and you aren't."
Maryland's soccer life, for 1977 anyway, did depend on yesterday's outcome. The Terps needed a win over the Tigers, the nation's No. 1 team, to gain a spot in the NCAA playoffs.
But despite a hustling, gutty performance, coach Jim Dietsch's squad simply couldn't overcome Clemon's raw talent on a cold misty day in front of a crowd of about 500.
The loss dropped the Terps' final record to 9-5 and threw Atlantic Coast Conference mark to 3-2. Clemson ran its record to 14-0, 5-0 in the conference, in wrapping up its sixth consecutive ACC title. It was also the Tigers 29th straight game without a loss against ACC opponents.
Dietsch refused to hang his head after it was over. "We proved something," he said. "We played our regular alignment, didn't drop anybody back on defense and stayed with them. We can play with them, we can play with anybody."
The Terps did play with the Tigers. In fact, for much of the first half, they dominated them. Clemson took exactly one shot in the first 20 minutes but, as so often happens, it went into the net.
The play was a simple one. Midfielder Emmanuel Egede broke down the right side, drew the defense and goalkeeper Larry Howell towards him and slipped a crossing pass in front to Marwan Kamaruddin, who put the ball into an empty net at 6:10.
Maryland did not told, however, continuing to exert pressure the rest of the half. But in the second half, playing the ball to their speedy wingers, the Tigers began to assert themselves. After Howell had made several spectacular saves of seemongly certain goals he was beaten on a header by Godwin Ogburze, 17:55 into the second period. Again, a perfect crossing pass left Howell helpless.
The Terps got in the board at 37:29 on a penalty kick by Claude England and kept the ball in the Clemson end during the final moments, but never really had a chance to tie things up.
"They're (Maryland) just an eexcellent hustling team," Ibrahim copceded. "I thought the conditions helped them muddy field) because they took away some of our speed.
"He (Dietseh) is playing with American kids and they play with more enthusiasm. They're very emotional. You can see their determination for 90 minutes."
It was truly a game that displayed not only constrasting styles of play - Maryland contrasting philosophies.
Ibrahim, who started one American goalkeeper John Bruens, was one of the first coaches to extensively recruit foreigners and has built a national program with them. In three years Dietseh has all but eliminated foreigners from his program and started 10 Americans yesterday.
"The one thing we lack is the natural scorer, you can't teach that," said Dietseh. "If we get that kind of player (someone like Prince George's Community College star Bryan Winstead, who is expected to enter Maryland next year) we can play with anyone."
Yesterday his team almost made up for lack of natural talent with heart. But not quite.