Mike Emrick, the boys soccer coach at Thomas Stone, sometimes angers parents in the preseason because he does not cut any of the approximately 50 boys who try out for the team. The parents, who pay Charles County's mandatory $50 activities fee, stew because the team's size invariably means there are athletes on the squad not playing.
For senior forward Ronnie Provenzano, however, Emrick's no-cut policy is paying off. And the Cougars (2-0) are reaping the benefits. Provenzano is Stone's leading scorer with a goal and three assists after spending three years as a reserve.
"Some of the parents get mad because they pay a lot of money and their kids do not play," Emrick said. "But we want to keep kids in the program and keep them involved in soccer and hope they will contribute one day -- just like Ronnie is doing for us now."
Provenzano has helped shoulder the Cougars' scoring burden with senior Jimmy Dade, who had 10 goals and 11 assists last season to lead the team in total points. Provenzano had two assists Tuesday in Stone's 3-2 overtime win over St. Mary's Ryken, including an assist on the game-winning goal by junior Dave Bonney.
Before losing to the Cougars, Ryken (3-1) had defeated then-No. 3 and defending Maryland 4A state champion Chesapeake, 2-1, last week.
Hurting at the Back
DeMatha starting defensemen and co-captains Matt Oliver and Tim Esposito are expected to miss the next two weeks with back injuries, according to Stags Coach Steve Powers. Oliver, an All-Met and Parade all-American who has committed to the University of Virginia, has not played this year after hurting his back while playing with the U.S. under-18 national team over the summer.
Esposito left the team's 4-1 loss to Archbishop Curley of Baltimore on Monday with a back injury. Powers said both players' injuries are muscle-related.
"As much as I would love to have them, we are not going to rush them back to the lineup," Powers said. "I can sense [Oliver's] frustration at not playing, but he has to look at the bigger picture and think about playing at Virginia and do what the doctors tell him."
Senior midfielder Marty Shaw is leading the Stags (4-1) with a goal and four assists. Freshman forward James Agorsor has a team-high four goals.
Churchill forward Kevin Sindelar is expected to return to the lineup early next week after missing the preseason with a broken arm suffered in a game during the summer. Sindelar had five goals in helping the Bulldogs to the Maryland 4A state title game last season, and Churchill Coach Dave Kelley said he hopes Sindelar can contribute immediately, even though he is "not quite match-fit yet."
"We missed several good scoring opportunities [in a 1-0 victory over Watkins Mill Tuesday], but Kevin adds a dimension to our offense that we lacked," Kelley said. "He is a player who can score for us. He knows he is not match-fit, but we will play him in spots until he gets more physically fit."
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play in the four-team Whitman tournament -- featuring Whitman and Baltimore schools Archbishop Curley and Calvert Hall -- that begins Saturday.
Scouting the Area
Landon School's nine returning senior starters have an unusual responsibility this season -- helping first-year coach Bill Reed learn about teams in the area. Reed moved to the Washington area from Maine over the summer and admitted he did not know much about the teams on Landon's schedule.
So he asked the nine seniors to provide him with informal scouting reports.
"Since I am new to the area, having nine returning starters has really been a help," Reed said. "I rely on them to tell me about the teams we are playing."
The plan is working so far. The Bears are 2-0 heading into Saturday's game against Wilson, the defending D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champion. Seniors Cris White (two goals, three assists) and Nii-Amaah Ofosu-Amaah (two goals) have provided the offense, while senior goalie Jeff An has not given up a goal this season. . . .
Wootton began this season practically where it left off last year. The fourth-ranked Patriots shut out Whitman, 3-0, in its season opener Monday. Last year, the Rockville school had 12 shutouts and went 680 minutes overall without giving up a goal. . . .
Annapolis midfielder Will Phillips had two goals and an assist in his team's 5-2 victory over St. Mary's-Annapolis last week. . . . Gonzaga midfielder David Greaney had a goal and three assists in his team's 5-0 victory over defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference-champion O'Connell last Friday.