Quigley's Goal Is Goals, No Matter Where He PlaysPosted on September 25, 2007
By Jessica Bernheim
B.J. Quigley scores goals.
UMBC freshman B.J. Quigley was a standout striker at Archbishop Curley, finishing his high school career with 59 goals and 17 assists.
Quigley, a team captain, seemingly scored every big goal for the Friars throughout their dream 21-3 season, including the lone tally in Curley’s 1-0 victory over McDonogh in the title game. That goal gave him eight game-winners in the Friars’ final 11 games. He scored in 16 of his team’s 21 wins and had seven multi-goal games.
“Without a doubt, B.J. was the most lethal striker we’ve had here at this school,” Curley coach Barry Stitz said. “And there’s been some good ones.”
That success translated into numerous awards -- including Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year, first-team all-state from the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer (MACS) and MIAA All-Star -- and a soccer scholarship to nearby UMBC, where he appeared to pick up where he left off, scoring the team’s first goal in a 2-1 victory over Air Force in the 2007 season opener.
Quigley said he was just doing his job, and he didn’t realize it was the team’s first goal of the season until weeks later.
“We were down 1-0 and we just needed to score and get back on top,” he said. “It was just another goal to tie the game up. It’s kind of exciting now that I think about it.”
But then something strange happened. Quigley fell into an unprecedented scoring drought. As of UMBC’s bout with James Madison on Sept. 22, the freshman had not found the back of the net in his last six games, the longest slump he can recall.
“The competition is definitely better in Division I soccer,” Quigley said. “It’s a lot faster than high school. You have to bring your game day in and day out.”
UMBC coach Pete Caringi said he isn’t worried.
“I expect him to get on track as far as scoring goals,” the 17th-year Retriever coach said. “It is an adjustment coming from high school to the Division I level, and he’s working hard and trying to adapt. I think at the end of the day, once he gets settled in a little better, we’ll see more goals out of him.”
In high school, nothing could keep Quigley down. The toughest of circumstances only made him stronger.
A little more than halfway through his senior season, Quigley’s grandmother passed away. She had lived with his family, and the two had been very close. He missed two games while he mourned her loss.
Quigley returned to face archrival Calvert Hall five days later and scored both Curley goals in a 2-1 victory.
“That shows the level of individual he is,” Stitz said. “He did a tremendous job funneling his energy. Soccer was a release for him. He was playing for his grandmother, and he wasn’t going to let her down.”
Quigley said his teammates helped him get through the difficult time, rallying around him and two coaches who also lost relatives during the season. He believes that is one big reason the Friars played so well down the stretch, winning their final nine games.
According to Quigley, that same close-knit family atmosphere is on this year’s UMBC squad as well. The Retrievers are coming off a disappointing 2006 campaign in which they finished 5-9-3, suffering their first losing season in nine years. But 2007 looks promising with a 3-2-2 record through seven games.
“I think a lot of it has to do with our time together off the field as well as on the field,” Quigley said.
Adjustment to life in college has also been enhanced by the presence of four former Curley teammates. In addition to junior goalkeeper Steve King and sophomore midfielder Matt Ward, Quigley was joined at UMBC this year by classmates Dustin Dzwonkowski and Sean Rothe.
“I hung out with them a lot in high school, and coming here is just like picking up where we left off,” Quigley said. “Nothing’s changed. It’s fun.”
Quigley’s high school coach sees UMBC as a good fit for the player, who is commuting to the Catonsville campus from his home in Essex.
“B.J. wanted to stay local, given his closeness with his family,” Stitz said. “UMBC is an up-and-coming program, and B.J. saw it as an opportunity where he could go in and compete for a starting job right away.”
He started his first four games before coming off the bench against VCU two weeks ago.
“We have some quality forwards, so at his position we have some guys who are out there competing, and he’s part of that mix,” Caringi said, referring to players such as junior Kevin Gnatiko (Watkins Mill) and sophomores Andrew Gillis (Perry Hall) and Imeh Umoh (Calvert Hall). “I’m not just going to throw him in there if he’s not producing, but I think at the end of the day he’s going to be one of the top strikers.”
Caringi has high expectations for his prized recruit, for this year and beyond.
“History has said that he’s been one of the more successful high school goal scorers coming out of this area, and I expect him to have a great career here as far as scoring goals,” he said. “All the good ones that we’ve had, it always took a little adjustment. I think at the end of the day his numbers will be there as one of the top goal scorers.
“Not to put too much pressure on him.”
Issue 2.39: September 27, 2007