The position of goalkeeper is one of the most well-known positions in all of sports. Everybody knows who the goalie is, as well as his one and only goal: keep the ball out of the net. The goalie is the true last man. He is the wall that separates victory from defeat. For the Oswego State men’s soccer team, the wall is represented by junior P.J. Goodwin.
For the first time in years, the Lakers are looking to make a run to the top of the SUNYAC standings. The Lakers have shown marked improvement on all parts of the field since last season. The defense in particular has been strong this season and Goodwin, as any good goalie should, is the one leading this improved defensive line.
Goodwin is playing his second year for Oswego State after transferring from Wilkes University. Goodwin played in four games and started three games in goal last season. Goodwin played 211:06 minutes, recording 10 saves and one shutout en route to a 1-1-0 record. Goodwin held a 1.28 goals against average. This year, he has taken the reins of the position. Goodwin has been at the forefront of a rejuvenated Laker team.
The Lakers are 5-3 through eight games this season, tying their wins total from all of last season. As one of the major improvements on this Laker team, the back four has surrendered only seven goals in their first seven games.
Goodwin is having a phenomenal season so far, posting a .088 goals against average and a .788 save percentage. Of Goodwin’s five wins this season, three are via shutout. But for all the numbers he has posted, Goodwin credits his defense.
“I love my (defensive) backs,” he said. “All four of them are upper classmen, three seniors and a junior, all solid players.”
Goodwin also notes the infusion of new talent has the key to the turn around.
“Last year the freshmen class was good, but this year, I mean, if you look at the stats I think they have more than half the goals for our team,” Goodwin said. “They came in ready to play, ready to go, they hopped right into the ideas that the coach was giving us and took it and ran with it.”
The Lakers have made their stock and trade late in games. Of the 10 goals the team has scored this season, eight have come in the second half.
“The beginning of the game is getting to know your opponent,” Goodwin said. “Usually the first 10 or 15 minutes is kinda feeling out what they’re going to be like. Then after that you got to adjust to what they’re giving you. You have to get to work.”
This season the Oswego State roster has become considerably deeper.
“Our team is so deep that we’re able to play four, five, six more guys then the other team,” Goodwin said. “We just have fresher legs throughout the entire game.”
For all their success however, the Lakers have struggled against SUNYAC schools. They are currently 0-2 in conference play after dropping games to SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz during Oswego State’s Alumni Weekend. In the first game against Oneonta, the Lakers fell victim to an own goal and dropped the match 1-0. On Sept. 24, Oswego State suffered an even more decisive defeat at the hands of New Paltz, losing 2-0.
“The games we played before hand were against good teams, but it’s a whole different situation when you’re playing SUNYAC,” Goodwin said. “We just got out played.”
Despite the team’s poor showing over the weekend, Goodwin believes that his team can turn things around.
“It just takes heart,” Goodwin said. “Starting 0-2 it takes a lot of determination to better yourself.”
Goodwin can see his team doing more than just turning their SUNYAC fortunes around, he has dreams of championship glory.
In late September, Goodwin was recognized for his determination to better himself, as he was named SUNYAC player of the week for posting shutouts against Roberts Wesleyan and Nazareth College.
“It feels nice. it goes back to having a good team in front of you,” Goodwin said. “Because of them, the saves I have to make are important saves but I don’t have to make twelve of them, I only have to make two or three.”
“It comes down to if we can put forth the effort to get there,” Goodwin said. “We didn’t do it this past weekend but we have to go one game at a time, one weekend at a time, you got to pull out some wins. Overall, I think we can definately pull it out in the end.”