Alex Cagle made sure he put his left sock on first when preparing for Temple’s matchup with Penn State.
As part of his pregame ritual, the sophomore goalkeeper puts his left sock on before his right. The routine is working for Cagle, who tallied his second shutout of the season Friday during the Owls 2-0 win against Penn State at Ambler Sports Complex.
“Communication is probably my biggest job [being in goal] because as long as I organize everyone in front of me,” Cagle said. “I have to do less work.”
Cagle recorded three saves against the Nittany Lions—ranked No. 25 team in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America coaches’ poll—and credits his defense for helping him keep a clean sheet.
“I think we have one of the best back lines in college soccer,” Cagle said. “It has really helped me out and I haven’t had to actually do too much to get the shutouts.”
The goalkeeper said he helps the defenders out as much as possible by keeping his back line focused and aware. This involves alerting the defenders when someone is behind them on their weak side or making them aware of their position on the field.
In one instance, Penn State came close to scoring a goal, and Cagle was sure to let his teammates know what they were doing wrong as well as what they needed to do.
“When it gets close like that, I really try to get everyone to close down, and get closer together so it’s harder for [Penn State] to break into the center,” Cagle said.
In his first season as a starter, Cagle has allowed one goal in more than 306 minutes of action.
“I definitely felt a little more pressure because it’s the first time I’ve played every game and every minute,” Cagle said. “So it’s definitely weird getting the full 90-minute experience in.”
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org