With the college teams starting to find their rhythm in games, most teams have found their anchor with a solid goalkeeper. Having a defense that doesn’t allow many shots is equally great, but nothing compares to having a goalkeeper that goes above and beyond to keep balls out of the back of the net. With the season progressing like it has, there’s already been some standout goalies that could be up for goalie of the year.
It’s no surprise with how well Stanford’s doing that I would include their two goalies who have been switching on and off for the season. Lauren Rood and Alison Jahansouz together have combined for 9 shutouts this season, only allowing five goals in eleven games. They’ve no doubt been an important part of Stanford’s nine wins in a row, and they seem determined to never let the ball find the back of the net.
UCLA’s goalkeeper, Teagan Micah, has also been in impeccable form for the Bruins so far this season. UCLA has been in a similar form to Stanford, outscoring their opponents 33-8, no doubt thanks to their sophomore goalkeeper. Micah has recorded five shutouts and is picking up where she left off her freshman year, where she played every minute of every game and recorded nine shutouts during the season. Micah’s most important performance came against Brigham Young where she made six big saves on the night, keeping her clean sheet.
Samantha Leshnak has played every minute so far for the University of North Carolina, and she’s earned the title of #1 for UNC. The Tar Heels are 9-2 overall, conceding only seven goals for the season, all thanks to Leshnak’s amazing performances this year. Her biggest game, so far, came against Florida State- a dominant team that focuses on their offense and scoring. Leshank recorded a giant clean sheet, making four saves against a Florida team that was hungry for a win.
While the University of Central Florida has been focusing more on their offense than defense- finding the back of the 27 times in eight normal season games- they still have two solid goalies, each trying to prove they should be #1. While Vera Varis gets the start most often, UCF have found an incredible backup goalie in sophomore Chloe N’Gazi. Together, they’re recorded five shutouts against some big opponents like Houston and East Carolina. With such two strong goalies, UCF is giving their opponents a hard time to put away goals.
These goalies all deserve shoutouts due to all the shutouts they’ve been working hard to keep. A solid offense is exciting to watch, but in my book, nothing beats goalies making outstanding saves- coming off their line to punch the ball out of the box, stretching across the goal to just push it out of bounds, saving penalty kicks, you name it. An authentic soccer game, for myself, consists of the ball going back and forth on the field, with the goalies emerging as the true heroes for their teams.