Pyzdrowski’s boots tough to fill

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The challenge Marquette’s goalkeeper coach Stan Anderson faces this fall will be a daunting one: how to replace a goalkeeper who ranks among the school’s all-time statistical leaders and has been the backbone of the team for three-plus seasons.

Marquette goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski finished his career fifth all-time with more than 5,300 minutes in goal and ranked seventh all-time in goals against average (1.37), career shutouts (11) and career saves (206).

Pzydrowski signed with the Portland Timbers in March, who compete in the USSF Division-2 Professional League and made his first professional start last weekend in an exhibition match against Costa Rica’s Punarenas FC.

The Timbers will move to Major League Soccer next season, and Pyzdrowski will have a chance to compete against the best American teams.

Fortunately for Anderson and coach Louis Bennett, they have several goalkeepers to choose from that will have a chance to play when the team opens its season in the fall.

Junior Keenan Flynn and sophomore David Check appear to be the front-runners, but sophomore Ben Calvopina as well as freshman Charlie Lyon will certainly have an opportunity to provide insurance as the last line of defense for the team.

“Keenan has the most experience on the team, but nobody is going to be anointed as the starter until we have a chance to see what they can do when training camp opens in August,” said Anderson, who is also the associate head coach for the team.

Flynn played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Saint Mary’s, where he played 15 games before transferring to Marquette.

“It was great to get experience from someone like Matt, and now it’s our turn to keep raising the bar and pushing each other,” Flynn said. “The bar has been set high, and we’re hoping to have a healthy competition in the fall.”

Both Flynn and Check noted how Anderson has been pushing them to work on back line communication in the spring and will try to stay sharp playing with their club teams in the summer.

Check redshirted his first season at Marquette and will have three years of eligibility left in the fall. He cited hard work and having the confidence from what Pyzdrowski taught them as keys to performing well in the coming years.

“It’s definitely a big confidence boost to have someone like Matt providing on and off-field leadership,” Check said. “His actions on the field were a good example of something we should strive for in the future.”

Lyon is another player to keep an eye on as an option in goal next season.

Lyon earned all-state honors in Illinois in his senior season and also was selected to the NSCAA/adidas All-Midwest team for his work in net for St. Charles East High School. He is widely regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the country and has spent time with the U.S. National Team.

“If you see Charlie in the west goal next season, he might kick a ball into Lake Michigan, that’s how strong his feet are,” Anderson said. “It comes down to a matter of how he can adjust to the team when practice starts.”

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