Horwath scaling heights for Badgers

6-4 McDonogh grad is intimidating goalkeeper

Alumni Report

October 04, 2007|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN REPORTER

.. Wisconsin soccer goalkeeper Alex Horwath (McDonogh) stands 6 feet 4, weighs close to 200 pounds and has a towering presence in the goal that is intimidating, to say the least.

"I'm loud and I'm big, plus I'm athletic," said Horwath, a first-team Sun All-Metro choice in 2004. "And coaches like my presence."

Horwath said he uses every bit of his height to gain an advantage and had these words of warning to Big Ten Conference foes or any other opponents: "I wouldn't recommend trying to push me around."

Horwath, a third-year sophomore, hasn't found a lot of players eager to take him on.

"Being big, people don't want to come in and hit you," he said. "[Size] helps a lot. It's great. You're long, you have a lot of range. When the ball's in the box, it helps you get up over top of people."

Excitement, talent, high energy, presence and charisma are just a few of the assets Horwath brings to the goal.

Before Horwath ran into unbeaten Michigan State (6-0-2) on Sunday and allowed three goals in a 3-0 loss, he was having quite an impact on Wisconsin's opponents. The rangy keeper had recorded five consecutive shutouts in nine games to start this season, and he had six shutouts overall.

Even with the three goals allowed in the loss to the Spartans, he has averaged 0.85 goals against, has a 5-2-2 record and has 31 saves for a .795 save percentage. Wisconsin is 5-3-2 as a team.

During the shutout run, Horwath was honored as the Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week. Two of those five consecutive shutouts will be treasured for a while by the Woodbine native: Both 1-0 games were against top West Coast opponents Stanford and California.

Horwath called those wins "defining moments early in the season," which he said is the greatest time of his soccer life.

"Even if we had lost those games 7-0, I would say this is a great moment for me because I'm back playing a game that has been such a major part of my life," Horwath said.

His college career began at Connecticut, where he suffered a career-threatening knee injury (torn posterior cruciate ligament, torn posterior lateral cruciate and torn lateral meniscus) during practice after the first game of his freshman season.

The severe knee injury occurred when he came out of the goal after a ball and one of his teammates slid into him, "hitting my shin and throwing my knee all out of place."

It took two knee operations that freshman redshirt year and eight months to recover from the injury. He transferred from Connecticut to Wisconsin in the spring semester of his second year, choosing to play for Badgers head coach Jeff Rohrman, a former assistant at Maryland.

His high school career was interrupted by brain surgery in his sophomore year for a subdural hematoma that was caused by a kick to the head.

Holmes tears ACL

Southern California junior soccer defender Meagan Holmes (Dulaney) tore her anterior cruciate ligament last month in a game against Georgia.

Holmes, who had played in six games for the Trojans this season and had one goal and no assists, was selected to several freshman All-America teams at USC after a high school career highlighted by her being named Parade Magazine's Defensive Player of the Year in her senior year.

Jaeger honored

York College junior Jesse Jaeger (Perry Hall) was chosen the Capital Athletic Conference Runner of the Week after finishing first in the 2007 Spartan Invitational at John Rudy Park in York.

Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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