Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Punch by Harried Clemson Star Kos Ex-Sluh Standout Ossola

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Punch by Harried Clemson Star Kos Ex-Sluh Standout Ossola

Article excerpt

A good defender, J.J. Ossola always thought, should stay on an opponent's back, breathe down his neck and get in his hair. The idea is to distract him from his game.

Ossola, a Duke University marking back from Collinsville and St. Louis University High, executed his strategy too perfectly two weeks ago in an Atlantic Coast Conference feud with Clemson. Duke won 2-1.

His opponent, unable to get Ossola to back off and tired of him running his fingers through his hair, floored Ossola with a Sunday punch. Ossola suffered a broken jaw that required 3 1/2 hours of surgery to fix.

"My oral surgeon said he had never seen anything like that, even in boxing," Ossola said. "It was a clean break (of the jawbone)."

ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan apparently had never seen anything like that, either. He suspended the knockout artist, Clemson forward Wolde Harris, for six games. In a statement, Corrigan said he was "sending a message that such play will not be tolerated."

Clemson coach I.M. Ibrahim, though he didn't excuse Harris for punching Ossola, maintained that Duke defenders had "abused" his star player repeatedly in the first half. "They beat us to a pulp," Ibrahim told Soccer America magazine.

Who looked more as though he had been beaten to a pulp might be debatable, but Ossola acknowledged that he was harassing Harris. Harris led the nation in goal scoring before his suspension.

"My job was to shadow him all over the field," Ossola said. "I was playing him real tight, aggressive - the whole works."

Ossola said his tactics included "keeping a hand on him, a forearm to his lower back, making sure I was right on top of him when he got the ball."

Earlier in the game, Ossola said, Harris tried to shake him with a "sharp elbow to the mouth." All that did was chip one of Ossola's teeth. He continued to stick like glue.

Ossola said he stepped up the harassment by making like a toupe salesman. …

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