Sports

Women’s soccer has ‘healthy competition’ for starting keeper

Morgan Basileo has started five games while Jordan Nash has started four.

HOJUN YU (PHOTO), COURTNEY REDMON (DESIGN) / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Morgan Basileo learned she would start her first game in net a mere 24 hours prior to kickoff. The sophomore goalie immediately told her parents, bringing a tear to her father’s eye.

“My parents come to almost all of the games dating back to last season when I didn’t get in at all,” Basileo said. “It was great to have them come out and support me during my first start.”

Basileo didn’t have much time to overthink the possibility of conceding her first goal, but the inevitable came just nine minutes into her first start. She was perfect for the rest of her debut, pitching a shutout for the remaining 81 minutes en route to a 3-1 win against Rider University on Aug. 31.

After the Owls’ victory against Rider,  Basileo held three consecutive teams — Mount St. Mary’s University, Towson University and Delaware State University — scoreless before conceding the lone goal in a loss to Central Connecticut State University on Saturday. She had 12 saves in the three shutout performances.

Basileo only played the first half of Temple’s 8-0 victory against Delaware State. The remaining time went to junior goalkeeper Jordan Nash, who started 18 of 19 games last season and had an American Athletic Conference-best 120 saves.

Nash assumed starting goalie duties for the 2017 season. After Nash posted a 1-3 record and allowed eight goals, coach Seamus O’Connor decided to make a change at goalie.

“There are two starting goalies on this team,” O’Connor said. “It’s Morgan’s job for right now as long as she’s playing well. If she stops playing well, then I have no problem putting Jordan in.”

Basileo isn’t used to competition for the starting goalie position. She said she doesn’t recall a team she played for that had two starting goalies like the Owls do.

“Having someone else right there with you definitely pushes you harder on the field, in fitness and in the weight room,” Basileo said. “You know that at any moment if you make a mistake there’s someone there who can take your spot.”

Nash, on the other hand, has had competition in the past.

O’Connor said this year’s  goalie situation is similar to that of the 2015 season when Nash and former goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff competed for playing time in training camp and early in the season.

The competition ended prematurely when Kerkhoff broke her leg in September against Penn, allowing the then-freshman Nash to start 15 games in 2015. She recorded an average 1.02 goals against in her rookie season.

The two goalies have a notable difference, O’Connor said. Nash’s natural ability to be loud and vocal on the field is key and something he constantly works on with Basileo, he said.

Basileo has gotten louder and better at communicating with the defense and everyone on the field with every start, O’Connor said.

“I  think Morgan just naturally has a more quiet personality,” sophomore defender Lacey Powell said. “Communication from the goalie is so key, and Morgan has definitely gotten more comfortable being vocal with more playing time.”

O’Connor has used up to 20 field players in games this season and likes to have constant competition for playing time. The same goes for his goalkeepers.

“Having two goalies like Morgan and Jordan is great because the healthy competition it creates makes us, as a team, better,” O’Connor said. “You also can’t plan for freak injuries, but it’s good to know we always have someone else ready if somebody goes down.”

Dan Wilson

can be reached at danielwilson20@temple.edu
Or you can follow Dan on Twitter @dan_wilson4
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