Luis Barraza statistically second-best goalkeeper in nation

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Luis Barraza statistically second-best goalkeeper in nation

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Although Luis Barraza came from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, the highest level of youth soccer, Marquette men’s soccer head coach Louis Bennett said the goalkeeper had a lot of work to do when he arrived at Marquette in the fall of 2015.

Now he is not only one of the best goalkeepers in the BIG EAST, but he’s also one of the best keepers in the nation.

Last year, Barraza’s save percentage was 0.716. This year, he is almost 15 percent better at 0.861, ranking him second in Division I soccer for save percentage. The keeper with the best save percentage in the nation is junior Elliot Panicco from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with 0.885.

“This year I think I’m better (at) positioning,” Barraza said.

During the summer Barraza played for FC United in Chicago. There he said he was able to develop his game even further.

“(I developed) in my communication, in my positioning in goal, and that’s what I think has allowed me to make more saves this year,” Barraza said.

Barraza is 38th in total saves because he only played in 12 games. Bennett started freshman Cedrik Stern for some nonconference games to give him more opportunities for growth in case of an injury to Barraza.

Virginia Military Institute freshman Broden Schull leads the country in saves, but he has played four more games than Barraza.

Bennett said Barraza’s strengths go beyond what appears in the box score. There are many responsibilities required of every keeper during a game, including communication, positioning and shot-stopping.

“He’s an unbelievable shot-stopper,” Bennett said. “He’s got a sixth sense. … He’s got unbelievable reactions. I think that’s one of the things that sets him apart.”

Barraza credited goalkeeper coach Graham Shaw for putting Marquette’s keepers through low-diving drills they can translate into games.

For Barraza, the pleasure of goalkeeping comes from seeing the opponent’s face when he makes a save.

“I’m a big believer of just looking at the frustration of the other team (when I make a save),” Barraza said. “In the moment, I don’t look at them and see their reaction, but I go back and look at the tape. …Those are the moments I live for.”

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