LAFAYETTE — Rotating goalies?
It has become a greater phenomenon over the last few seasons that coaches across the state have been more comfortable employing.
At Peak to Peak, where the goalie position has always been the backbone to their success, coach Joe Swanson has the benefit of having two very good goalies — Makenzie Short and Rachel Willette — at his disposal and it is paying huge dividends for the No. 3-ranked Pumas.
"The benefit is having two qualified girls that would probably have their own net at another school," Swanson said. "It keeps them both motivated and the competition high between the two of them and it elevates the pressure a little bit, because neither one of them wants to be the one that lets the team down."
Letdowns have been few and far between for Peak to Peak, which is coming off by far its best result of the season — a 1-0 victory at No. 1 Colorado Academy.
It was the seventh collective clean sheet of the season for Short and Willette. This one was made even more special because, in addition to Short bailing her team out when "it was all we could do to survive," according to Swanson, one of the 10 saves made in the game was a critical Willette save of a penalty kick with time running out in regulation.
"I just tried my best to read the ball and the play, and I read correctly," said Willette, who made seven second half saves against a Mustangs team that was clearly pushing numbers to find an equalizer to Rebecca Thompson's goal.
"I watch the player usually, because it is easier to tell if her hips open up or if they are closed as to where she is shooting."
Both goalies have their strengths and weaknesses, and have found a way to mesh them into one cohesive unit both in practice and during games.
"In practice it is really fun training with her, because what she does better than me and what I do better than her really compliment each other," said Short, who is the more vocal of the two sophomores. "My strengths are a lot different than her strengths."
And while you might think that having two different net-minders would put a strain on a defense that would have to do things tactically different, it is something they have learned to adapt to and not skip a beat.
Short, who is anything but — standing at 5-foot-9 — is a little more aggressive and "willing to come out and take on the attacker" Swanson said.
Willette, who is more comfortable sitting back in her goal, is more the cerebral-type and her instinct at cutting down angles.
"They are both very good and they each have their own styles," said Swanson, who gave a lot of credit to goalies coach and former Pumas goalie Trevor Shepherd. "When they are on the field and at practice together it is amazing how much they encourage each other to be the best they can in all facets."