Oct. 5, 2012
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By BRADY JOHNSON
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head women’s soccer coach Ron Rainey had to think long and hard about the last time he had such a competitive and even battle at goalkeeper. After thinking through 20 years of coaching, his conclusion is never.
Freshmen Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson and sophomore Kiley Beck have anchored the Hawkeyes (11-1-2) between the posts this season, giving Iowa some of the top goalkeeping in the country. The Hawkeyes rank second in the nation in save percentage (.914) with both Clark and Goodson ranking within the top-five in save percentage and goals against average in the Big Ten.
Iowa’s goalkeepers have been a major factor in the Hawkeyes developing one of the Big Ten’s top defenses, and that has come from daily competition between the three youthful goalkeepers. With the three pushing each other to improve everyday in practice, Iowa has developed a competitive mentality at goalkeeper and a habit of keeping the ball out of the net.
“It’s early in their careers, but they have each shown so much as underclassmen goalkeepers, and it’s the closest and most competitive battle I’ve seen in 20 years coaching,” said Rainey. “Our dynamic with Kiley, Hannah and Meg has been tremendous, and they are helping each other get better each time out.”
“It’s early in their careers, but they have each shown so much as underclassmen goalkeepers, and it’s the closest and most competitive battle I’ve seen in 20 years coaching. Our dynamic with Kiley, Hannah and Meg has been tremendous, and they are helping each other get better each time out.”
UI head coach Ron Rainey
Iowa’s goalkeeping has been tremendous through 14 matches, but after last season, Rainey had cause to be apprehensive about the position. The Hawkeyes needed to replace Emily Moran, who graduated as Iowa’s all-time winningest goalkeeper. Rainey also needed to replace goalkeeper coach Jaimel Johnson, who accepted the same position at Texas.
Rainey would find the answers at the position, hiring former Kansas goalkeeper Julie Hanley as an assistant coach and signing two goalkeepers in last year’s recruiting class. Rainey felt confident it was a good start.
“Of course there is a bit of nerves when you have to replace personnel and coaches,” said Rainey. “You hope the people you bring in will work out, and luckily for us, that has been the case. We’ve had great teachers for our goalkeepers and great players at that position who are eager to learn and compete.”
Clark, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., first reached out to Iowa in her search for the right college. Rainey returned the interest after being impressed by Clark’s club record and experience. After Clark made a visit to Iowa City, she was ready to be a Hawkeye.
While Clark may have been more of a lucky pick-up from Colorado, Goodson had been on Iowa’s radar for years. The Van Meter, Iowa, native grew up as a Hawkeye fan and followed Iowa soccer. As Waukee’s record holder for career 3-pointers, Goodson’s biggest choice may have been what sport to play rather than what school to play for. Before her junior year of high school, Goodson chose soccer, and Rainey found another goalkeeper for the recruiting class.
As Iowa’s only known piece of the puzzle at goalkeeper returning from last season, Beck returned from 2011 tasked with not only improving individually, but helping the newcomers improve. With one season under her belt playing under Moran, Beck was up to the task.
Just like that, Iowa’s battle at goalkeeper was born, and the Hawkeyes haven’t looked back since.
Clark ranks second in the nation and first in the Big Ten in save percentage (.919) and eighth in the nation and second in the Big Ten in goals against average (0.49). She has made 34 stops while allowing just three goals in over 660 minutes played, and was named Co-Defensive and Co-Freshman Player of the Week this week.
Goodson has enjoyed equal success, ranking fourth in the Big Ten in save percentage (.892) and fifth in goals against average (0.67). Goodson has made 33 saves and allowed just four goals in 540 minutes played, and was selected as Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week.
Beck has played in three matches and nearly 100 minutes without allowing a goal. Beck, a native of Rockford, Ill., has a career save percentage of .885 and has allowed just one goal in her two years at Iowa.
“One of the biggest things they do well is compete hard every day and push each other to get better,” said Hanley, who ranks second in career saves, shutouts and goals against average in Kansas history. “We focus on making the routine saves that we need to make consistently, and understand we need to come up big a few times in a game. They’ve done that so far, and I’ve enjoyed working with them.”
Iowa’s goalkeepers will face another test on Sunday, facing a Minnesota offense that scored three goals against fourth-ranked Penn State. The Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers will meet at 1 p.m. (CT) at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Minneapolis.