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A coach with a passion for winning is accused of throwing a game

December 11, 1997

During the last weekend of the women’s soccer season in the tiny but tough Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Lock Haven University coach Trevor Warren faced an odd dilemma.

A win would be just another win. But if his 13-3-2 squad, ranked among the tops in the country, lost to undermanned West Chester, it might cause nearby rival and perennial powerhouse Bloomsburg to miss the playoffs.

The coach decided to throw the game, according to a player and the trainer.

```I want you to lose,‴ Warren told the team at halftime, Dusty Rovenolt, a defensive back, said. ``He told us not to play our best.″

Lock Haven led 1-0 at halftime, but West Chester scored five goals for the victory Nov. 1.

``A lot of the players came in ... afterward and said they threw the game,″ trainer Dan Gales said. ``They were saying that they were told not to win the game.″

Warren declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Lock Haven athletic director Sharon Taylor cringed at the term ``throwing the game.″

``I don’t think that characterized the situation,″ she said. ``There were some decisions made ... that were not in the best interest of the program and university. There were decisions made about substitution and positioning. ...

``The players as they played on the field did their best,″ she said.

Taylor said Wednesday that she was waiting for Warren’s resignation.

``What happened should not have occurred, but I think there are an awful lot of places where it does occur and people look the other way,″ she said. ``It’s not illegal. It’s not unlawful. It’s certainly unethical.

``I think he thought his motivation was good in what he was trying to do. He’s upset because he recognizes, I think, that he did something that went against what he deep down believes.″

In four years, Warren built the team from club to varsity level and from seven wins in 1994 to 15 in 1996. But in the PSAC, a league of 14 small schools across the state, Bloomsburg consistently won more in almost every sport.

To keep Bloomsburg out of the playoff race _ and to deny it the NCAA tournament bid that goes to the champion _ Warren knew Lock Haven had to lose to West Chester, and East Stroudsburg had to win twice on the road. When East Stroudsburg won, Bloomsburg was out.

Rovenolt said several players refused to take the field after the coach’s comments. The coach also started almost all second-team players, she said, including the goalie.

``Some of their shots were really nice. But they shouldn’t have been in position to take the shot,″ she said.

Men’s soccer coach Rob Eaton said he watched the first half of the West Chester game and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

``I saw a completely different Lock Haven team take the field than normally takes the field,″ he said.

At Bloomsburg, head coach Chuck Laudermilch, who is retiring after eight years with a 106-34-6 record, was philosophical about the controversy. He described Eaton as a very competitive and competent coach and said he could understand if teams didn’t wish the best for Bloomsburg.

``We’re not any different than any other program in the country that’s been successful,″ he said. ``You know that you have the ability to make everyone’s season if they come and beat you.″

For Ed Townsley, the women’s soccer coach at West Chester, the allegations have left him offended and defensive about his team’s success this year. His squad finished 12-6-1 and lost to East Stroudsburg in the league semifinals.

Townsley said he saw nothing on the field against Lock Haven to suggest Warren or his players weren’t out to win. There was a lot of substitution, he said, but that could have been because it was late in the season and Warren wanted to rest his starters.

``Nobody sat down on the field, no one stopped running,″ he said. ``And they were ahead 1-0 at halftime. That would indicate they played at least a half.″

As for the five second-half goals, Townsley pointed out his team’s explosive offense. ``One thing I’m going to tell you is people don’t give us a lot of credit.″

Rovenolt said she’s been scarred by the incident.

``You’re taught not to lose, you’re taught to win,″ she said. ``We did it because he was our coach. You’re supposed to do what he says.″

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