Two women’s soccer teammates and friends, junior goalkeeper Alex Alford and sophomore goalkeeper Lauren McAdam of the University of Miami, will have to battle the best of the ACC this season-and each other.
The goalies shared time in net last season due to ankle injuries sustained by Alford. This season, they will compete for the starting nod, but they agree that soccer will not get between their friendship.
Alford and McAdam both said they have great fondness for each other, continually stressing that whatever happens on the field won’t affect their daily lives.
“We’ve learned to separate what goes on on and off the field,” Alford said. “When we’re on the field we compete and just try to do our best and when we are off the field we just try to be friends and hang out.”
“There’s really not too much time to hang out with the practice schedule, classes and all, but we are good friends. The whole team is,” McAdam said. “We all get along great.”
While the team has faith in both goalies, eventually one will become the full-time starter to give the young squad stability. The ‘Canes hopes to have a definitive starter named by the beginning of ACC matches.
“If we are going to be good and compete in the ACC, I think it’s very important that the players around our goal keeper are comfortable with that player in net,” Assistant Coach Jeff Freeman said. “I think knowing who will be in goal each day will help our team out a lot during conference play-although right now I have no idea who it will be in net.”
Last season Alford started eight matches while fighting through her injuries. She posted an overall record of 2-7 with 54 saves. In 2003, Alford started all 19 matches played and went 9-9-1 with five shutouts, tallying the most goalie saves in one season at Miami with 106 and the lowest goals against average of 1.60.
On Sunday, McAdam recorded her first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over Monmouth. She also started eight matches last season as a freshman, posting an overall record of 1-6 with a total of 710 minutes in net and 33 saves.
“It was a great start to the season,” Freeman said. “We were very happy with Lauren’s performance. We played solid defense and when we did have a breakdown Lauren was there to cover for us.”
Alford was scheduled to start Wednesday’s match against Stetson.
Both goalies appear to be making the best out of a sticky situation, putting the team ahead of individual gains. Freeman said the strong character of the entire team has helped make the situation comfortable for McAdam and Alford.
“They are all close on this team,” he said. “It’s good because they help support and challenge each other. It says a lot about their personalities.”
Mike Holt can be contacted at email@example.com.