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Wisconsin dealing with un-Settled keeper position

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s soccer team enters the 2007 season with options at the goalkeeper position. The only problem is that former UW standout Jake Settle has graduated and the Badgers’ current goalkeepers have never played in a Division I match. Last season Settle was a rock of stability for the Badgers, allowing 15 goals while starting all 19 contests. Despite the void left by the two-year starter, UW head coach Jeff Rohrman is confident that sophomore Ryan Vint and University of Connecticut transfer Alex Horwath will fill the gaping hole. “It is certainly some big shoes to fill. Settle did a great job for us but Alex (Horwath) and Ryan (Vint), who right now are our number one goalkeepers, have shown that they are capable and can win games,” Rohrman said. “To have two goalkeepers of that quality and that caliber really speaks well for what we have ahead of us.” So far this season, Vint and Horwath have split time nearly equally, giving up a goal apiece in two exhibition games against UW-Parkside and UW-Oshkosh. Although both are intent on becoming the starter, they nonetheless demonstrate a team-first attitude regarding the current goalkeeper situation. “I definitely want the starting job,” Ryan said. “But first and foremost I want what’s best for the team. Alex (Horwath) and myself have been battling, but it’s been nothing but positive to this point.” “Absolutely, there’s not a question in my mind,” Horwath said of his goal to win the starting job outright. “But we respect each other and push one another and pick each other up when one of us is having a bad day in practice.” Rohrman is not tipping his hand on who the eventual starter will be, and he has not ruled out the possibility of a goalkeeper platoon throughout the season. The sixth-year head coach believes each keeper brings a unique skill set to the table that will make for a lethal combination. “Potentially they could both be playing. They’re both too good not to be playing,” Rorhman said. “What you get is different strengths, and where one lacks something, the other one might make up for it, so it’s a great combination.” Horwath and Ryan are relishing the pressure as they continue to fight for the starting job. Rohrman believes that healthy competition will only add to the overall strength at the position, and his keepers do not disagree. “I think it’s exciting; expectations are very high,” Horwath said of the competition for the starting job. “It’s good to have pressure on you, and it’s only making us better.” “We both want that job, but competition is always a good thing,” Vint added. Both Horwath and Vint enter the 2007 campaign with immense confidence, but their lack of experience is undoubtedly a concern for a predominantly young squad. Rohrman, however, is not overly concerned, and believes both goalies are playing with something to prove. Horwath joins the Badgers after a tumultuous start to his collegiate career at UConn. After sustaining a rare knee injury, Horwath did not see eye-to-eye with Connecticut coaches who felt his knee was not healing fast enough. Vint, who was named a top-100 freshman by College Soccer News in 2006, redshirted last year and is hoping to prove he belongs. “That can be a great motivator for people, and any time you have had some adversity you can use it in the right way and that can motivate you and propel you to have a good career,” Rohrman said of Horwath’s time at UConn. “Ryan (Vint) did a great job for us last year and really improved as a goalkeeper, but we expect big things from both of them.” Rohrman has not commented on which, if either keeper, had gained an edge through the early part of the season, but nevertheless he likes what he sees thus far. “They can both make great saves; they are both tremendous at organizing and distributing,” Rohrman said. “This is the first time in six years for us that we have two goalkeepers that we feel are good enough to step on the field for us today.”last_img

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