New goalkeeper gives Temple steady play in net

Nikolas Hartmann ranks second in The American in saves this season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Nikolas Hartmann kicks the ball during the Owls’ game against the University of Central Florida at the Temple Sports Complex on Feb. 13. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University men’s soccer sophomore goalkeeper Nikolas Hartmann is more motivated than he’s ever been after transferring to Temple.

“[Philadelphia] is a great place,” Hartmann added. “I feel really comfortable in the city, in the team, and of course, the college is just great.”

This season, Hartmann, who transferred from Louisiana State University at Shreveport in June 2020, is providing the Owls with a strong and consistent presence in the net. He ranks second in The American Athletic Conference in saves with 14, including an average saves per game of 3.5, while his .667 save percentage ranks fourth in the conference. 

Hartmann was named to The American Athletic Conference Honor Roll three times this season following the team’s first three games. 

“It’s always a boost of energy and motivation to keep going,” Hartmann said. “These two awards mean a lot for me, but I’m still hungry and I’m going for more.”

In the team’s first game of the season against South Florida (2-2, 2-2 The American Athletic Conference), the Owls (1-3, 1-3 The American) won 3-2, and Hartmann recorded two saves in the effort.

In the team’s 1-0 home loss to Central Florida (1-3, 1-3 The American), he registered five saves, and against Memphis (1-1, 1-1 The American), Hartmann made a season-high six saves, which allowed Temple to tie the game late before losing 2-1 in double overtime. 

“He’s got good behaviors, he does good things, and we think that he plays a position of leadership,” said head coach Brian Rowland. “So put those pieces together and you get through enough games and training and periods of time that obviously he’ll lead us and into more of a leadership capacity.”

One of Hartmann’s best behaviors is how well he communicates with his defenders, which is essential for a team to have a strong backline. 

Temple’s defense is allowing 1.75 goals per game this season, which ranks fourth in the AAC. 

“One of the positive aspects is that he’s pretty vocal on his game,” said senior defender Esteban Suarez. “He tries to make people aware that he’s in the back. We feel secure when he’s talking and being so vocal because well, that way you remain focused throughout the game.” 

Hartmann transferred from Louisiana State because he wanted to play against stronger competition and in a “conference that is tough,” he said.  

At Louisiana State, he earned second-team honors from the Red River Athletic Conference after the 2019-20 season and held the best goals against average in the league. He also helped the team qualify for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championships during the 2019-20 season.

“The main reason for me was to come here, play and learn at this level of competition for me to get challenged,” Hartmann said.

Hartmann’s main goals are to win the AAC and win the national championship. To achieve them, the most important thing for him is to stay focused during every game, he said.

“One hundred percent all the time, you got to be from the first minute to the last minute focused one hundred percent because you never know what can happen,” Hartmann said.

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