The Wildcat soccer team stands at 7-7-1 overall and is second place in the Southland Conference with a record of 4-2-1.
They have outscored their opponents by a small margin this year at just 24 to 19 goals, but what sets the team apart is its two sophomore goalkeepers.
Amassing 83 saves between the duo over the season, sophomores Kelsey Dombrowski and Sydney Newton have been responsible for keeping their team in games. The two share the responsibilities as starting keeper for the team and are available when the other comes out of the game.
“[The coaches] hold us as equals and just decide week to week who they’re going to play,” Dombrowski said. “We never know what’s going to happen. We don’t know who’s playing until right before the game.”
Newton has 38 saves on the year with a goals against average of 1.48 and has only allowed 10 goals while Dombrowski has 45 saves with a GAA of 1.04 and has allowed eight.
“I think both of us in the first half of the season have already made more saves than we had the entire season last year, so it’s definitely been a lot busier and a lot more stressful, but it’s been fun,” Newton said. “Keeps the games exciting.”
Splitting time between multiple players is not unfamiliar to the two, as they both had to deal with it when they played club soccer. Dombrowski said switching and having both available to play is beneficial to them and the team as a whole.
“It’s nice for us because we have had injuries on our team and us in particular as well, but we don’t need as much rest as our field players,” Dombrowski said.
Although time to rest and injury prevention are two of the top benefits of having strong goalies, there are other advantages to the Wildcats’ situation.
“I think also it’s nice to take off of each other,” Newton said. “You can see what our strengths are, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from watching Kelsey play.”
Dombrowski said, despite the lack of starting consistency, the two haven’t had any problems being at the top of the depth chart.
“Obviously we both want to play,” Dombrowski said. “If we kind of look back at our practices, I will say ‘You know what, she did better than me in practice. She deserves it more than I do. She’s doing well.’ You have to think of how our team’s going to benefit from it.”
The main goal is to succeed. Newton said it doesn’t matter who the coaches put in the net as long as the team is working together to further the team and the ACU soccer program.
“We basically always want to win,” Newton said. “I think we go into every game wanting to prove to all these other teams that we’re a bigger deal than they think we are and we’re going to create a name for ourselves.”