MEQUON, Wis. – Coming into training camp the Concordia University Wisconsin Men's Soccer team knew it would be featuring a new starting goalie in 2013. Last year's starter Sam Ische is gone via graduation, leaving the Falcons in search of a new netminder.
All Ische did last fall was lead the conference in save percentage with a .832 mark after playing nearly every minute in net for the Falcons. He started all 21 games, making 114 saves and shut the opposition out five times. For his efforts Ische was named All-Northern Athletics Conference Second Team.
"Sam was an outstanding athlete, a great leader and was a super senior, so you can't replace that," said Falcons head coach Tom Saleska. "However, the goalie position has to be a leader, so one of our four guys is going to need to step up and fill that role."
Four players are competing in camp for the starting goalie position. Returners from last year's squad are junior Eric Vogel (Itasca, Ill.) and sophomore Alec Brew (Appleton, Wis.). Also in the mix this season are talented freshmen Dillon Pallex (Pulaski, Wis.) and Austin Schroeder (Kenosha, Wis.).
All four players bring something a little different to the team and no one has pulled away from the competition early into camp.
"Eric is probably the most athletic of the group and certainly has shown some ability so far," Saleska said of Vogel, who appeared in two varsity matches during the 2011 season.
"Alec has all the fundamentals down and has made great strides for us," Saleska mentioned of Brew, the only one of the four to see varsity collegiate action last season, playing in three contests for the Falcons.
While the freshman may lack the college experience, they won't be looked past in the goalkeeper battle as Saleska expects to give them opportunities early this season. Pallex was an all-conference second team selection for Bay Port High School last fall, while also leading his team to a regional championship. Schroeder was also an all-conference second team pick, while allowing 0.59 goals per for game for Kenosha Bradford High School, leading his team to the state semifinals.
"Becoming a leader and starting goalie is a lot to expect from a freshman but those two will get their shot early," Saleska said of his freshman goalkeeping duo. "Dillon is a very skilled player and Austin has good hands and has shown good positioning thus far."
The battle for the starting goalie job is certainly wide open as training camp has been underway for less than a week. Will one of the goalies seize the job early or will it be a battle between all four this season? Only time will tell as the Falcons look for their leader in net for 2013.