Trio of goalies vie for starting spot

BY TOM CLOS | SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women’s soccer team has sailed to an 8-0-0 record and is on the verge of going undefeated in nonconference play for the second-consecutive season.

But there’s one burning question that has developed during the Hawkeyes’ hot start:

Who’s in the net?

Sophomore goaltender Kiley Beck and freshman goalies Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson have all seen action as Iowa’s last line of defense this season. The trio has held opposing offenses to 3 goals on 80 shots, including a four-game shutout streak to begin the season.

“We don’t know whether we’ll stay with a rotation or go with just one starter,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said. “We want to keep seeing people in game situations.”

Rainey’s keepers haven’t made the decision an easy one. Clark and Goodson rank first and second in the Big Ten in save percentage at .900 and .889 respectively, and they have seen significantly more minutes than the elder Beck.

“We’re all working towards the No. 1 spot, and it’s definitely been competitive,” Clark said. “But ultimately, it’s coach’s decision, and for right now, we’ve all handled the competition very well.”

Clark has started five of the team’s eight games, but Goodson has gotten the nod in net three times and has the most saves in the group with 16.

Goodson, a Van Meter, Iowa, native, was adamant that it didn’t matter to her if a starter was ever named, and she said she wouldn’t mind having the rotation the rest of the season.

“The fact that we’re rotating has made all of us maintain and compete at a higher level,” Goodson said. “It has been healthy for us, and it’s fine how it is.”

Beck would seem to be the long shot to assume the full-time gig; she has made only three appearances this season, but Rainey disagreed with that to an extent.

“It’s been our most competitive position, and there are three people who’ve been doing a nice job,” he said. “But of course, you don’t have a three goalkeeper rotation as you go through the season.”

Iowa will get one last chance to figure out its backstop plan before conference play, when the Hawkeyes line up against St Louis at Robert Hermann Stadium in St. Louis today.

There is no goalie controversy across the field; senior Billiken goalkeeper Katie Walsh has played every minute of the season, allowing 5 goals through six games.

As for the Black and Gold, Rainey decided he’s sticking with the status quo.

“We’re going to start Hannah, and Meg will play in the second half,” Rainey said. “Right now, we still see that position as relatively equal.”

A win in St. Louis will push the Hawkeyes to a 9-0-0 start, matching last season’s side for the best in school history.

Former Hawkeye Emily Moran started every game for that 2011 team en route to a historic season, but Rainey said that he wasn’t afraid to see what this year’s squad can for an encore with a tandem in net.

“I used a rotation [when I coached] at Ball State one year, and it worked out pretty well,” he said. “You always just want to get the best results for your team, and sometimes that’s with two people in net.”

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