It is often the goal scorer who steals the headlines, but the goalkeeper’s performance is crucial for the team’s overall success. In each game, a team’s goalie is asked to save shot after shot that the opposition hurls. It’s no easy task, and it is one of the most intimidating positions in sports, but Seattle Pacific (7-1-2, 5-0-2 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference) has found a standout in the form of redshirt freshman Cody Lang.
“I first played goalie when I was 12,” Lang said. “I was the tallest guy on the team. It ended up working out pretty well.”
Lang went to Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. For club ball, he played against Falcons head coach Mark Collings.
“He’s a tremendous competitor,” Collings said. “Sometimes practices get a little chippy. He forces himself and his teammates to get better.”
Lang redshirted last season, so he had to patiently wait for his chance. Once former Falcons goalie Zach Johnson graduated, the job for starting goalie opened up, and Lang seized his first opportunity.
“He started to play for us last spring,” Collings said. “Some of our other goalies were injured, and he had success and gained confidence from it. I think redshirting was good for him. It gave him the opportunity to learn from Zach and to prepare. It really helped.”
“The redshirting process was tough,” Lang said. “I didn’t travel with the team. It put into perspective how much I wanted to play, so I worked harder. It’s fantastic to travel with the team now.”
In his first season playing soccer for the Falcons, Lang has been impressive. In 10 games, he has allowed seven goals and has never let in more than two goals in a game. He has kept four clean sheets and made 32 saves at this point, averaging more than three saves per game. On Oct. 3, Lang recorded five saves en route to a 2-1 victory over No. 1 Simon Fraser.
Of course, all goalies need the support of the defense, and the Falcons defense has been stout.
“As a defense, we try not to let the opposition have shots on goal, but it’s awesome knowing we have him in case shots get through,” senior defender Kodiac Gamble said.
In addition to making saves, Lang has also been working on the vocal aspect of the game as he continues to mature and improve in leading his team vocally from the goalkeeping position.
“The other night he lost his voice after the game,” Gamble said. “He talks the entire 90 minutes and really does lead vocally.”
The Falcons are more than halfway through the season at this point, and Lang and the rest of the team are striving to improve.
“We’ve been doing well, but there is room for improvement,” Lang said. “We’re a young team. It will take time, but we’ll keep improving.”
The Falcons beat Saint Martin’s (3-7-1, 3-3-1 GNAC) 3-0 this week at home on three second-half goals.
Next week, SPU is on the road to Northwest Nazarene (3-3-4, 3-2-2 GNAC) on Thursday and Montana State (2-6-3, 2-3-3 GNAC) on Saturday.