SOCCER: Ball State goalkeeper competition masked by 2-0 start
The Daily News
A 5-1 goal differential, the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week and most importantly, two wins. Not a bad opening weekend for a team that did not have a starting lineup set until the day of its first match.
After a nearly perfect start to the season, it appears a deep well of talent has answered all but one of the starting lineup questions. Ball State’s ten starting fielding players stayed the same through the weekend, but saw senior Layne Schramm and freshman Brooke Dennis each get a start in goal.
“Going into the weekend [coach Craig Roberts and I] told [Schramm and Dennis] they would each start a game, and have the opportunity to show themselves,” assistant coach Marcie Klebanow said. “And we were very pleased with both of their performances.”
Schramm started between the pipes in Ball State’s season opener against Northern Iowa, and did not see much action.
In a game played predominantly on Northern Iowa’s half, Schramm was only tested a handful of times. She had two elementary saves, but looked confident distributing the ball from the back and directing the defense.
The sole goal Ball State allowed on the weekend came from a Northern Iowa corner kick. It looked as though Schramm didn’t get a good read on the ball, and a curler went in untouched.
On Sunday against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Dennis was also impressive, recording a clean sheet in her first collegiate start. Dennis had four causal saves, but had impeccable timing coming off her line to break up through balls and possible opportunities.
There are several variables to the competition, but a constant is talent. The coaches agreed that the team will have sure hands backing it up.
“Brooke and Layne are just great keepers,” Roberts said Sunday after the victory Wisconsin-Green Bay. “It’s really neck-and-neck between them.”
A key aspect to the battle is actually how similar the two play. According to Klebanow, neither keeper has any glaring weaknesses, and both do many of the same things well.
Both coaches agree that despite the battle for the starting spot there is no animosity between the senior and freshman—in fact they embrace it.
“They know that them pushing each other is going to elevate each other’s games to higher levels,” Klebanow said. “They are working hard every day to make this team better.”
So who is going to start Friday’s match against IPFW?
“We won’t decide that until match day,” Klebanow said.
Intra-team competition is integral to Ball State’s team, and players know that every time they step onto the field it is an audition.
“In every single practice and game [Schramm and Dennis] have been competing at a high level,” Klebanow said. “It’s a phenomenal competition.”