With Le Toux Returning, Nowak Puts Team and Fans First

With Le Toux Returning, Nowak Puts Team and Fans First

During yesterday's press conference Union coach Peter Nowak was asked what appeared to us to be a very typical question when a player returns to play his former team for the first time, "what do you expect the atmosphere to be like" on Saturday?

Peter Nowak then asked the reporter if he was being serious or if he was joking. Twice. Then he didn't give the standard answer one might think a coach would say about his former star player.

Here's what would have made for a harmless safe response that would have probably pleased everybody: "Sebastien was a very good player for us and helped this team a lot over our first couple of seasons. He was a fan favorite while he was here because of his tireless style of play. I'm sure the fans will show their appreciation for that on Saturday. But once the game starts, they'll be 100% in support of the players wearing Union jerseys. No doubt."

But Peter Nowak's job is not to please everybody. It's to coach his soccer team.

Instead, Nowak actually got a bit terse. "Maybe confetti, maybe parade, maybe banners. I don’t know." Perhaps he was being sarcastic, but it simply didn't come across well at all.

After the press conference was over, Nowak reportedly tried to clear the air a bit. I believe he came across much better when talking with the Daily News' Kerith Gabriel.

"I am sick of this ‘face of the franchise’ crap," Nowak told Gabriel. "You know who is the
face of the franchise? Our fans who come every week to support us, the
team. They are the face of this franchise. That’s who we play for. Not
some individual player. I’m not dumb, I know fans loved [Le Toux] and
will cheer him, but at the end of the day, it’s about the team, our
team, and that’s where the focus should be."

Fair enough. Can't argue with putting the fans in the front, especially with the transient nature of the MLS.

Nowak is much more comfortable talking about the action on the field than the former player's return. Hopefully they can get a win under their belts on Saturday so we can start enjoying that talk a little bit more.

See you in Chester on Saturday? We'll be there.

[hat tip to Philly Soccer Page]

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

Villanova headlined Philly college basketball action today with a 78-68 win over Providence, led by Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins (see full recap). The win is dampened with the news that Phil Booth is increasingly unlikely to return this season as he still deals with knee discomfort (see story).

Here's a snapshot from the rest of area hoops today.

Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The way it played this week, No. 21 Purdue is acting like a team that is determined to be in the race for the Big Ten championship all the way to the end of the regular season.

Caleb Swanigan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Purdue built an 18-point halftime lead and coasted to a 77-52 victory over Penn State on Saturday, four days after shooting 60.4 percent in a 91-68 victory against Illinois.

Against Penn State, the Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2) got 13 points from freshman guard Carsen Edwards and 10 each from Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards.

"I would just say we were coming out ready to play," said Vince Edwards, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Our goal is to win the Big Ten. Our focus is to take care of business."

Josh Reaves led Penn State (11-9, 3-4) with 12 points. The Nittany Lions made only 20 of 64 field goal attempts (31.3 percent) and were outrebounded 39-30. Purdue shot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) (see full recap).

Drexel drops road game at CAA-leading UNC Wilmington
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Devontae Cacok scored 12 points and set a Colonial Athletic Association record with 24 rebounds, helping UNC Wilmington stay perfect in conference with an 87-74 win over Drexel on Saturday.

Cacok, whose previous career-high rebounding was 16, broke the school record (21) and conference record (22) late in the second half as the Seahawks cruised to their ninth straight home win, tying the best mark in program history.

UNC Wilmington (19-2, 8-0) led 53-51 with 15:01 left before four players combined to rattle off 12 straight points. Cacok capped the run with one of his 11 offensive rebounds and a dunk to give the Seahawks a 65-51 lead with 11:23 remaining.

UNC Wilmington is off to its best start ever and has won 24 of its last 26 conference games, including 12 straight. Chris Flemmings led the Seahawks with 17 points.

Sammy Mojica had 15 points and Rodney Williams added 14 for Drexel (7-13, 1-6), which has lost seven of eight (see full recap).

Delaware swept in season series with Towson
NEWARK, Del. -- Mike Morsell and Arnaud William Adala Moto pulled down a dozen boards as Towson won its fourth straight and a season sweep of Delaware with a 75-58 win on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers are fresh off a win over Hofstra that saw them erase a 16-point first-half deficit, and momentum carried over when they built a 17-point lead at halftime.

Alex Thomas and John Davis added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but Towson saw its streak of three-straight games shooting better than 50 percent end. The Tigers hit 26 of 55 shots from the floor (47.3 percent), including 6 of 15 from deep.

Delaware snapped a six-game losing streak Thursday with a win over Northeastern. Ryan Daly scored 21 points for Delaware and became the first freshman in school history to post six 20-plus efforts in a season. He reached double-digits for the 12th time in 13 games (see full recap).