Two years ago, Dan Scheck manned the pipes for the Owls.
With Scheck in goal, the Owls finished the 2013 season with a 10-4-4 record, their best mark since 2008.
This season, redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Alex Cagle has helped the Owls jump out to a 7-1-1 start and the No. 17 ranking the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Sept. 22 poll.
While the results have been similar, the two goalkeepers vary in their styles of play.
“I think we’re comparable in certain ways and in certain ways we’re completely different,” the 6-foot-3 goalkeeper said. “Dan Scheck was a lot quieter in the goal. He did probably a lot less directing of the defense in front of him than I try to do. I’m a bigger guy, so I have a different kind of mindset that way. I can go up for bigger high balls and go in harder for tackles and stuff like that.”
With nine shutouts and 79 total saves on 246 shots faced, Scheck helped an Owls defense that allowed 13 goals in 18 games and 1733 total minutes in 2013, which tied for No. 9 in Division I.
Scheck, who senior goalkeeper Pat Lestingi described as an introverted personality, had a work ethic and drive that were apparent to his fellow goalkeepers, but not always to the rest of the team.
“To me, Dan was a great player, but as captain of our team people couldn’t always see all his energy,” Lestingi said. “He wasn’t really a vocal, extroverted person. He was more worried about his own game.”
Through nine games and 841 total minutes in 2015, Cagle has allowed seven goals on 78 shots faced. The Brookfield, Wisconsin native has three shutouts, a save percentage of 76.7 percent and Cagle and Temple’s defensive line also rank 33rd in Division I in team goals against average, with 0.74 goals allowed per game.
Cagle’s freshman season at Temple was the first time in his soccer career he was not in the starting lineup. While he said it was a new experience, he took advantage of being on the sidelines by observing and learning from how Scheck played.
“Freshman year it was awesome having a keeper like Dan Scheck in the goal,” Cagle said. “He was so calm-headed, especially my freshman year. It was nice to see how a keeper needs to keep a level-head to get through the highs and lows of the season and even an individual game. It really taught me a lot about the mental aspect of the game.”
Freshman midfielder and fellow first-year starter Hermann Doerner has taken notice of Cagle’s emerging leadership skills this season.
Hearing Cagle’s voice throughout games keeps Doerner and teammates aware of what is going on around them and organizes the back line.
Doerner also feels confident that if and when the defense gets beat, Cagle has its back.
“He leads the team on the field and has the command from his position,” Doerner said. “This is very important because he has the best point of view. He sees everything. He had many great and important saves in a lot of games. If you know that there is a goalie who saves a lot of shots, you feel better in the game.”
Dan Newhart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dannynewhart.