While competing for the starting job at goalie, sophomore Dan Scheck said he knows what it takes to win over his teammates and coaching staff.
“I think being loud and being able to communicate while making some key saves would show them that I’m ready and that I’m into it,” Scheck said. “I think that would show them that I belong there.”
After seeing only one half of action last season as a freshman, Scheck found himself in a competition with junior Bobby Rosato this offseason for the starting goaltender job.
“They told us [in the offseason] that no one has a set starting spot,” Scheck said. “You have to come in and work hard and the best man gets the job.”
Coach Dave MacWilliams said he believes that the two goalies were evenly matched heading into the season opener, and that both were scheduled to get some playing time. However, the team suffered a minor setback when Rosato suffered a stress fracture in his arm practicing before the opener. The job immediately became Scheck’s.
“I think heading into the season Scheck may have even been a little bit ahead [of Rosato],” MacWilliams said.
While the Owls hope to have Rosato back in time for next weekend’s California road trip, MacWilliams has become a believer in Scheck.
“[Scheck’s] come a long way since last year,” MacWilliams said. “He’s really good at stopping shots. The only area he needs to get better at, as everyone does, is commanding the box.”
Rosato started all 19 games last season, his first as an Owl after transferring from UNC Wilmington. He notched nine wins, five of which were shutouts. He ended 2011 with a .750 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.43. On Nov. 6 against Fordham, he stopped a career-high 14 shots.
An interview request with Rosato was denied by Athletic Communications.
Scheck acknowledged that, despite the competitiveness, he and Rosato remain close friends.
“Before the opener he told me that I would do good,” Scheck said. “He told me to make sure I talk a lot to the defense.”
A native of Sayville, N.Y., Scheck helped carry Sayville High School to a 20–1–1 record and its first State Championship. He was named All-League as both a junior and senior. He is the Suffolk County record holder for most career high school shutouts with 16.
Though Scheck has given up one goal in his first two starts of the season against James Madison University and Virginia Tech, he is quick to credit the Owls’ defense for its relentless work.
“They’ve been great in both games,” Scheck said. “In the [James Madison] game they had 30 shots, but only four on net. That’s excellent defense right there. They played big for me, that’s for sure.”
Senior Billy Kappock, who anchors the Owls defense, said he’s comfortable no matter which of the two goalies is in net.
“I think both [Scheck] and Rosato have the ability to play at this level,” Kappock said. “They push each other in practice. With either one of them back there, I feel confident.”
The senior leader recognizes Scheck’s progress and the hard work he’s put in to earn the playing time he’s been given.
“He came into the season fit and ready to go,” Kappock said. “He’s like a new Scheck.”
Coming off an opening weekend in which they went 0–1–1, the Owls will now look to Tuesday’s home opener against Manhattan for their first win of 2012.
“I think it’s big because if we win then we’re at .500,” MacWilliams said. “We had two tough games, so a win on Tuesday would be a good thing for us.”
“If we play good defense we obviously have a chance to win,” Kappock said. “If we stay positive and collective as a group, we should do fine no matter who we play.”
Tyler Sablich can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TySablich.