Injuries sap Frostburg State of two starters

Frostburg State has been dealt a pair of blows, and the season hasn’t even started.

A pair of starters in junior midfielder Lucas Flaig and sophomore defenseman Zach Burkhardt have been lost for the season after sustaining injuries. Flaig underwent hip surgery last Friday, while Burkhardt had surgery to repair a broken foot.

Flaig finished 2011 ranked second on the team in goals with 24. Coach Tommy Pearce said he is curious to see how the projected first midfield of sophomores Phil Hess (11 goals and 13 assists), Devon Stailey (8, 3) and Andy Luhmann (6, 2) fares.

“We return four freshmen that all played for us, and it looks like we’re going to have two or three freshmen that have played themselves into positions to play in the midfield,” Pearce said. “Even though we’re kind of staying young there, we think some of these freshmen are going to be impact players – just like some of these [sophomores] were last year. So I think we’re going to be OK.”

Burkhardt collected 27 groundballs and caused 19 turnovers last season. Senior Zack Hiller (24 groundballs and eight caused turnovers) is back to anchor the defense, and he could be joined by sophomore transfer Jeff Nagle (Florida Southern) and freshman Paul Newman.

The injuries have taken a toll, but Pearce said the team isn’t shy about throwing freshmen and sophomores into the fire.

“Where I came from [Gettysburg], we always tried to rely on building from within with freshmen and sophomores that had a couple years before going in,” he said. “Last year, because I had to rely on freshmen, I think I’ve made myself feel better about having to do that when we need to. So we’ve got some young guys that I think, if given the opportunity, can step in just like we had some guys do last year.”