Last season, the probation-ridden Howard University soccer team had nothing to shoot for in the postseason. The team finished 9-4-2 -- one of the worst records of Coach Lincoln Phillips' tenure.
This season, the squad again is banned from postseason competition as it wraps up a two-year sidelining by the NCAA. So, what does Phillips expect?
"I will be very disappointed if we lost any games," Phillips said.
"Last year was very difficult. It was the first year of probation (for using ineligible players) and the whole team felt there was no point in putting on its best performance," Phillips said.
The Bison also were without the services of Sylvanus Oriakhi, the leading scorer in 1977. Oriakhi is again eligible and back with five starters from last season, plus an impressive quartet of newcomers.
Oriakhi will not be counted on as heavily to carry the scoring load. That's because of freshman Glenn Cadenhead of Columbia, Md.
That would more likely have been Columbia, South America, in previous years. Traditionally, the Bison roster has seldom listed a native-born American. This year's edition shows a half-dozen, with Cadenhead and returning starting right wing James Sansom the ones who will see appreciable game time.
"Cadenhead is one of the most stylish young players I've ever seen," Phillips said. "I've had my eye on him for years."
Six other 1978 starters are back, including goalkeeper Edmund Olumekor (six shutouts, 62 saves, 12 goals allowed). And, what would a Bison team be like without someone named Davy?
Senior fullback Kenneth Davy -- the team's leading scorer (eight goals) last season -- is continuing an act started by brothers Richard and Michael.
"I expect Kenneth to be drafted into the professional league along with Olumekor," Phillips said. "In his first two years, Kenneth was a very rough player, on the borderline of being dirty. I smoothed him out last year. This season, I expect him to anchor the defense."
Howard can save Kenneth Davy's uniform. Phillips said that a fourth Davy is slated to attend the university next year.
The Bison served strong notice in the preseason that they will be tough to beat. A British naval team, a local amateur group and Indiana (Pa.) University -- the last by a 12-0 score -- all fell.
Howard played a trio of 14-minute minigames last weekend against Temple (14-1-2 last season), New York's St. Francis (14-4) and Delaware (8-4-2). The final aggregate score: Howard 8, others 0.
The Bison open Friday against the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Thirteen Americans are on George Washington's team. But the one who would have made it an even 14, star goalkeeper Jeff Brown, did not return because of academic problems.
Brown, who would have been a senior, had one streak of 24 games in which he posted 15 shutouts. His place will be taken by Jose Suarez, who filled in during the latter part of 1978 after Brown was hurt.
Coach Georges Edeline must replace seven starters as GW attempts to reach the NCAA tournament for the third straight year. The Colonials were 8-3-2 last year.
Junior Robert Froh of Silver Spring's Northwood High School and an American who has been living and playing in Italy, Ronald Herz, will get a chance to fill in for a pair of high-scoring forwards. $5"We're rebuilding, but I have a lot more to work with than I thought," said Edeline.
The Colonials host Howard Oct. 27 in a game that could well determine the area's best team.
American, which lost to the eventual national third-place team, Clemson, in the first round of the 1978 NCAAs, has 10 starters back. Only goalkeeper Tony Vecchione is gone.
Kevin Barth, an All-East Coast Conference pick as a freshman last season, returns as the leading Eagle scorer (11 goals). Also back is senior cocaptain Luis Calderon, who sat out the final half of the '78 season with an injury.
The Eagles, 10-5-1 last season, opened the '79 campaign with a 1-0 setback to Navy.
The Midshipmen lost all but one member of their midfield-front line, but return an intact defense. Playing with as many as seven freshmen, Navy opened with a 4-1 triumph over Hampden-Sydney before shutting out AU.
Maryland and Catholic both must find some offense to avoid duplicating 1978 losing seasons.
Only four different players scored for the Cardinals last year as the team compiled a 3-12 mark. Opponents outscored the Cardinals, 49-16. The starting defense returns, as do the top three scorers.
The Terrapin defense surrendered only 20 goals in 14 games. That was a heroic effort, but not enough to offset an anemic offense that notched only 23. The Terps finished 5-7-2 last season.