In terms of preparation for her upcoming jump from junior college to the NCAA Division I level, playing for the Rochester Lady Lancers is just what the soccer doctor ordered for goalkeeper Caitie Broderick.
What could be better than staring down elite scorers game after game?
In terms of what the Lady Lancers coaches want — and need — to see from their team, it’s not quite so good.
That’s because Broderick is facing high-quality scoring chances with predictable regularity. After stopping six shots in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the Long Island Rough Riders, the Spencerport resident leads United Women’s Soccer with 22 saves.
And thus, we have the definition of Catch 22. The workload is great for Broderick’s career enhancement as she readies for play at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, but it’s also an indication that the Lady Lancers need to clamp down defensively.
“If her coach (Paul Cairney of UNCW) looks and sees she’s leading the league in saves, he’s not going to complain,” Rochester coach Loren Inglese said. “But we don’t want to be giving up the chances we’re giving up.
“She’s a good goalkeeper, so your expectations are high. The fact she’s making saves and making so many is not a surprise to us as a coaching staff. But the fact she is forced to make so many is a concern for us as a team.”
Sunday’s game at Charlie Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute was the tale of two halves. Rochester (0-3-1) played a very solid first 45 minutes, pushing the pace and creating pressure. They could not, however, score on goalkeeper Melissa Guglielmo. In the second half, the Rough Riders (3-0-1) wrestled control away. They were on the attack often, working the ball to the box with precision and purpose.
That’s how Laura Gomez scored the first goal, in the 60th minute, and how Kayla Saager lofted a shot into the net in the 79th minute.
“The first 45 minutes we had our best opportunity to impact the game,” Inglese said. “We create enough to win games. But we have to convert those chances, so in the second half we’re not trying to score late, we’re not trying to come from behind.”
Broderick turned aside two good scoring chances by Long Island in the first half, and only the fancy footwork of Gomez created the scoring chance that led to the game’s first goal, in the 60th minute. Despite three defenders and Gomez all in the space equivalent to a kiddie pool, the Rough Riders forward managed to dribble to freedom and then boom a right-footed shot to the far left side of the net.
It was a SportsCenter Top 10 and SportsCenter Not So Top 10 moment, depending on your perspective.
“That’s something as an individual defender and as a team collectively you don’t let happen,” Inglese said.
Broderick was front-and-center for much of the final 30 minutes as Long Island kept up the attack. While the Lady Lancers would prefer most of the action be 80 yards away, Broderick wants to be making saves.
“When there’s no action, I get very bored back there,” said Broderick, who played the past two seasons for Monroe Community College and earned 2nd team NJCAA Region III All-America honors in 2016.
Staying busy, and being challenged often, are why she wanted to be a part of the Lady Lancers in their inaugural season. This is a chance to improve. The Seahawks discovered Broderick during MCC’s trip to the NJCAA national championship in November.
“This league has definitely stepped up my game,” she said. “It’s that much faster and I feel it will prepare me well.”
The transition from MCC to UNCW won’t be so abrupt come fall.
“She’s going to a top Division I program so she’s going to see the level of finishing ability that players in this league have, and beyond,” Inglese said.
The Lady Lancers are right back at Charlie Schiano Sr. Field this coming weekend with a chance to avenge season-opening losses. They play New Jersey Copa FC on Saturday; the Lady Lancers lost 6-0 on the road in the first-ever game on May 13. On Sunday, the New England Mutiny are in Rochester; they defeated the Lady Lancers 5-1 on May 14.
Long Island travels to the Lancaster Inferno on Sunday.