While playing soccer at Jefferson High School in Fairfax, John Stollmeyer was the team. So when he decided to attend Indiana University after a summer of international competition and professional offers, some thought Stollmeyer wouldn't fit in.
"I had heard from people that John was a little cocky," said Indiana Coach Jerry Yeagley. "But he learned early he wasn't going to run the team. Since then he has been willing to do anything to help the team."
The Hoosiers (20-3-1), ranked second in the nation, will play top-ranked Duke (22-0-2) today for the NCAA championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Indiana has a 14-7 postseason record; this is Duke's first title game.
Stollmeyer scored more than 50 goals at Jefferson, but has become Indiana's top playmaker. "Coach Yeagley told me that he was looking for a solid, take-charge midfielder," said Stollmeyer, who has three goals this season. "He has helped me look at my overall play. Tactically, I still need to go forward and be more complex."
A 5-foot-9, 175-pounder, Stollmeyer has been a model of unselfishness for the Hoosiers. He has developed into a skilled passer and is tied for the team lead in assists with eight. He is second in shots (74) and fourth in scoring (14 points).
Yeagley has worked to help Stollmeyer refine his once-frenzied physical game. "When he first came here, he was sort of content to 'chase and destroy' on the field," Yeagley said. "He still has that approach, but he has tempered it. He has taken off the pace and put it in place."
Stollmeyer even filled in on defense for eight games. When two defenders, including all-America Greg Thompson, were injured, Stollmeyer, who had never played on the back line before, moved to stopper and and played well.