WSOC : Goalkeeper Anghel emerges as dependable leader for SU

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Phil Wheddon has made it a point to let Brittany Anghel know she’s running the show this year. When the Syracuse goalkeeper controls the defense, she has to be a ‘puppet master.’So far, she’s been pulling all the right strings.Anghel has already posted half as many shutouts this season — three — than she did all throughout her freshman campaign last year. In fact, she’s been so impressive that Wheddon, the SU head coach, said at the Fairfield University 20th Anniversary Invitational this past weekend that she’s among the best goalkeepers in the Northeast and beyond.It’s a point he wasn’t afraid to repeat Wednesday.‘Brittany has continued to excel,’ Wheddon said. ‘Her foot skills are superior to many of the goalkeepers I’ve seen. Her shot stopping and her ability to be a presence behind our defense is phenomenal, and I know our defenders are very, very comfortable, as is the coaching staff.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnghel said Wheddon might be quick to compliment because he is her coach. But she said it’s still nice to get that endorsement from a man who has worked with U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo in the past.‘I do believe in a sense because he’s from such a high level of soccer, and it feels good actually to get that recognition,’ Anghel said.Wheddon began to work more closely with Anghel this year because the goalkeeper coach she worked with last year, Katie Ely, didn’t return. This season, the focus has been on the more minuscule details of playing goalie.Those small details, like the way Anghel angles her feet a certain way or has the right footwork for a jump ball, can add up to major stops during a match.‘There all sorts of little things that I’ve really focused on with both Brittany and (backup goalie) Sarah (Dejak),’ Wheddon said. ‘And we’re seeing the benefits of their focus, not necessarily mine during the training sessions.’All those little things have added up for Anghel, who has played every minute of every game this season and has allowed less than one goal per game. She also has 21 saves and a save percentage of more than 80 perfect.What’s been the most pivotal part to the ‘puppet master’s’ early season success has been her communication with her Orange teammates on the field.As a freshman last year, Anghel was overwhelmed in taking on the responsibility as the starting goalkeeper for a Division I program. She wasn’t as straight forward with her commands to the rest of the team.‘Last year, I was little more timid because I was a freshman,’ Anghel said. ‘Even though I knew I couldn’t be timid, I still was.’This year is a different story. Anghel has been more vocal to everyone on the backline, letting them know how to best position themselves. By communicating with the defense, Anghel said it ends up doing the work for her. If a defender is in the right place at the right time, the defender can stop the offensive threat before an opponent even gets a shot off.Anghel attributes being louder on the field to knowing more about the game. With the knowledge she picked up from being the starter a season ago, it’s easier to read a play.‘This year, I have a better understanding about where I want people to go, and last year, I didn’t so much, so I think that plays into it,’ Anghel said.She gives most of the credit to Wheddon, who has molded her into the goalkeeper he wants her to be. Anghel said Wheddon is one of the best coaches she could have.Maybe that’s another reason why he thinks she is among the best in the Northeast.As for Anghel, although she didn’t say she was among the top goalies in the area, she certainly isn’t going to argue with Wheddon’s assessment.‘I’d say so,’ Anghel said. ‘I’m very competitive, so I’m not going to go saying that there’s better out there.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Published on September 13, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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