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Sockers Beat Tacoma, Now Alone in First

TIMES STAFF WRITER

While the rest of the MSL does its Bank of New England impersonation, the Sockers are making a run on victories.

The latest came Thursday night in front of 4,688 at the Sports Arena as the Sockers victimized the Tacoma Stars, 10-7, to take sole possession of first place in the Western Division of the Major Soccer League.

The Stars (13-11) fell out of first place for the first time this season.

The Sockers (14-10) have now won seven in a row at home, five in a row overall, nine of 10 and 11 of 14.

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“But we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Ron Newman, Sockers coach.

Added defender Kevin Crow, “It’s been fun, but you’ve got to keep in mind the goal is to win the championship and it doesn’t matter if you’re in first place now, it matters where you’re at at the end of the season.”

Almost lost in a game in which five Sockers had multi-point performances, including a three-goal, one-assist night from midfielder Brian Quinn, was that Crow became only the third player in indoor soccer history to record 700 blocks.

He got his 700th with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter when he got in front of a shot by Kia that appeared to be heading inside the near post.

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No big deal to Crow, though.

“I’m not a believer in stats unless they’re more team-oriented,” he said. “You can take statistics and chop them up and make them say anything you want.”

Crow may not appreciate his numbers, but his teammates do. Quinn, whose hat trick was his first in the MSL, found time to sneak a block of wood above Crow’s locker with the number 700 scrawled on it.

“It’s nice when teammates do things like that,” Crow said.

Crow, who finished with four blocks, now has 703 in six-plus years indoors.

The two players ahead of Crow in blocks are Cleveland’s Bernie James, who has 932 in just over eight years, and St. Louis’ Mark Frederickson, who has 822 in nine-plus years.

“The important statistic,” Crow said, “is how many goals a team has given up. That’s what I shoot for. Blocks come with longevity, remaining injury-free. Plus they come from guys with hot tempers like we’ve had on this team. They end up getting a lot of penalties, so we’re on the defensive power-play a lot, and you get a lot of blocks in that situation.”

As far as goals given up, the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game is not one Crow wants to remember. Tacoma scored five times, three of which were sixth-attacker goals.

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