MEN’s SOCCER: ‘Keeper switch may juggle lineup

Joanie Baker

With a big bag of ice dripping over his hand, Daryl Sattler came off the field yesterday from his first soccer practice of the season.

When he broke his hand water skiing just two days before preseason, many questions were raised about whether or not he would return at all. Now that he is healing, a greater question will be raised: What will happen to freshman Wade Roepke?

Roepke came in as a midfielder who never played goalkeeper in his career, but he has filled in for Sattler in all six games this season. Now he has one shutout and averages 3.2 saves a game.

What makes it a complex question is Sattler recorded 104 saves last season, one of the best records in school history. He was named an all-Missouri Valley Conference player after recording three shutouts and averaging 1.84 goals against. So with Sattler coming back, who is going to start at goalkeeper?

Coach David Holmes is responsible for resolving the issue. But he said it’s no more difficult than deciding any other question for his team; he will choose the lineup for the game that will most benefit the team. Right now, he is not sure what is going to happen once Sattler is ready to play.

“I’ve never had a player break two bones in his body and had four metal pins put in there because of a water skiing accident, so this is a first for me after 20 years,” Holmes said. “But usually things just fall into place, and we’ll tackle that when it happens. Right now Daryl is in his first day practicing with his pins out, so it’s much too early to speculate.”

Holmes said he is not sure how long it will be before Sattler is ready to come back 100 percent. He said though Sattler has not been able to work or travel with the team, he has worked very hard on his own with his physical therapy and is trying to regain motion in his hand.

“It feels really good,” Sattler said. “Once I knew I was going to get out here and practice today, it felt great just to put on some boots and knock the ball around. To put some gloves on, that was the best part.”

He said it was rough at first because it just didn’t come as casually as it used to.

Sattler sees his return resulting in an exciting competition between him and Roepke for the position of starting goalkeeper.

“That’s going to be a competition I’m looking forward to,” Sattler said. “He and I are going to have some fun. It may be frustrating, because of course I want to play, but I know that you have to play the best goalkeeper, and I understand that.”

Roepke said he knew from the beginning that Sattler would come back, but he’s happy for him because he is the better player. He thinks he will help the team with experience and leadership.

The only frustrating thing is he will not get as much playing time. Right now, he doesn’t know where he will play if Sattler returns to goalkeeper.

“I’m excited Daryl is coming back, but at the same time I’m a little nervous,” Roepke said. “Just because if I go on the field, I’m afraid my touch won’t be the same as when I started on the field. But if not, my goal is to challenge Daryl. I’m going to make him work.”

Western will return to the field this weekend with Roepke as the goalkeeper at the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Reach Joanie Baker at [email protected]