Goodspeed has blossomed in four-year college career

NASHUA – Playing goal is never an easy position in the sport of soccer. But playing goal for the Rivier University women’s soccer team has certainly kept Merrimack’s Laura Goodspeed on her toes, in the air, and often diving to the ground.

“It stressful, but I love it,” Goodspeed said. “Even if I’ve been scored on a million times, I’m still like ‘I’m going to get this one. On to the next one.”

Goodspeed has been under siege for the last three-plus years. Her freshman year, she remembers giving up 12 games to Lasell College.

“Mentally it’s really hard,” she said. “Like ‘I’m horrible, I’m not good.’ But the next game you’ve got to move on and not be scored on. Even it it’s a horrible experience, it helps you to grow.”

Perhaps no one knows Goodspeed – and what she’s been through – more than Raiders interim coach Abigail DeAngelo, a former goalie herself who originally came on staff as the team’s assistant coach/goalie coach.

“Phenomenal,” DeAngelo said of Goodspeed’s play. “She’s also only like 5-4, so she shouldn’t even be making half of those saves. She can also jump clear across the net and get every ball.

“When I first came here, when I saw her, she works out all the time, she plays middie (midfield) on lacrosse, too, so I know she can run. We worked on jumping the last three years so she can jump and hit the crossbar.”

“Freshman year I was a lot less comfortable,” Goodspeed said. “Obviously now I’m a lot more confident. I will get this, I can get this. I’ve learned communication with my team; I definitely communicate with people more.”

Being able to see the field and anticipate is a must for any goalie, and Goodspeed has that talent, DeAngelo said.

“Reading of play is probably her best (attribute),” the coach said. “She can read when a girl is going to come in on her one vs. one. She’s very quick, because she’s so athletic, so she can sprint out, drop down and make the save. … Typically goaltenders are never supposed to make that save and Lauren almost always does.”

Goodspeed now is giving up fewer high goals than in the past thanks to that jumping work.

Being a student athlete at Rivier is never easy because of the high academic standards, as Goodpeed acknowledged.

“It’s difficult,” she said. “I’m a nursing major and that takes a lot of time. So everything has to balance, figuring out my studying time.”

Goodspeed played in goal all four years for the Tomahawks as well. She’s a goalie at heart.

“I’ve never really played on the field,” she said, “running for any extended period of time.”

Soccer will end for Goodspeed this month; the Raiders’ last regular season game will be home vs. Plymouth State in two weeks, on Oct. 25. They’re 1-8-1 overall, and 0-7-1 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference so a post season berth will be tough to get.

“It’s going to be tough,” Goodspeed said. “I’ll definitely miss it; I’ll have to find something else to fill up the spot, I guess. Coaching maybe?”

That might work for Goodspeed, who is often like a coach on the field.

“Mentally she’s very strong,” DeAngelo said. “She hasn’t had the skill level in front of her that most other colleges and the colleges we play against have. She has to make those 15-20 saves a game, just to keep us under (several goals against).

“She’s great. She’s grown so much, and is able to take constructive criticism. … I’m hoping she gets a couple of more shutouts and the awards she deserves as a goalkeeper.”

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Here’s a look at what some local athletes are doing at their respective schools:

Nashua’s Abby French is continuing to run well for the St. Michael’s College (Colchester Vt.) women’s cross country team.

A sophomore out of the Academy of Notre Dame, she was recently named to the Northeast-10 Conference Weekly Honor Roll, her seventh such honor in her young two-season career and fourth this fall. French was 17th out of 257 runners in a time of 19:28 in the 5K James Earley Invitational in Westfield, Mass. Her second straight personal best helped the Purple Knights to a 12th place team finish. French has been her team’s top runners in all 10 races she’s competted in over the last two seasons…

Hudson’s Marissa Coronis led Southern New Hampshire University with 17 kills and 10 digs in a recent 3-1 loss to Stonehille. Merrimack’s Joanne Coffey also had 21 assists and seven digs for the Penmen.

In an earlier win over Franklin Pierce, Coronis 11 kills, eight digs, and three blocks. In an earlier win over Queeens College, Coronis had a career high 28 kills, including her 1,000th with the Penmen.

Merrimack’s Courtney McCarthy, a sophomore at Eastern Nazarene, had a team best 15 digs and nine kills in a recent 3-1 women’s volleyball loss at the hands of Worcester State…

Litchfield’s Matt Lasha recently lifted Lasell College to a 1-0 double overtime win over Rivier. Latsha scored in the 104th minute. Riv goalie Colin Deyarmin (nine saves) had robbed Latsha earlier, but the local product got his revenge with the game-winner. It was Latsha’s second goal of the season.

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Women’s cross country runner Anna Pearsons was named Rivier’s Female Student Athlete of the month for September, while men’s soccer player Mike Federico of Milford won the men’s award.

Pearsons, a senior out of Kingston, Mass., recently led the Raiders to a first place finish in the Travis J. Fuller Invitational in 20:24, and was in the top 30 in the Pop Crowell Invitational.

The freshman Federico has played well for the Raiders at midfield after missing most of the preseason with a knee injury. He has one assist on the season.

“Mike has demonstrated strong leadership both on and off the field,” Raiders coach Hayden Barbosa said. “He has an incredibly bright future here and we are extremely proud to have him.”

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