Maryland goalkeeper Zack Steffen doesn't have the kind of stats that usually attract attention for goalkeepers in college soccer like a string of clean sheets or a low goals against average, but he's quietly having the kind of season expected of the highly touted prospect.
Behind a young and inexperienced backline that struggled mightily in the early part of the season, Steffen has managed just one clean sheet (a 2-0 win over lowly Pitt on Sept. 28) while conceding 16 goals in 10 games, but he's shown up in a huge way in nervy moments to make game-changing saves on more than one occasion.
Last week, he made a pair of saves that perfectly illustrate how vital the role No. 99 has had in the Terps' recent resurgence. On Tuesday night, he charged and made a sliding save in a one-on-one situation with Tulsa forward Bryce Follensbee, who had slipped through the backline with seven minutes remaining in the first half and Maryland up 2-1. The Terps went on to win 2-1 as Steffen collected four saves.
Three nights letter it was Steffen again making a one-on-one save, his fourth of the night, with 45 seconds remaining to preserve a 2-1 victory against Boston College. Since starting the season 1-2-2, The Terps are unbeaten in five games and are on top of the ACC standings with a 4-0-1 conference record. Steffen is a big reason for that.
A couple of Union Academy alums with the last name Campbell have opened their college scoring accounts in recent weeks. Georgetown freshman Brett Campbell delivered his first college goal in Georgetown's 8-0 shellacking of Seton Hall on Saturday. The Wallingford native also picked up an assist in the offensive outburst that came on the heels of a 1-0 win over American on Oct. 1 and a tough 0-0 draw with Creighton on Sept. 28.
Penn State sophomore Shane Campbell scored his first career goal in the first half of the Nittany Lions' first victory over West Virginia since 1990 back on Sept. 25. The York native's goal was set up by fellow Union Academy alumnus Connor Maloney, who also delivered an assist on the third goal in a 3-1 win over Wisconsin on Sept. 29 and set up the game-winning goal in a 2-0 victory over Indiana on Sunday. The freshman from Harrisburg has three assists and has started all 11 games for the 7-3-1 Nittany Lions, but none of his eight shots on goal has found the back of the net yet.
Temple sophomore Jared Martinelli's free kick setting up a headed goal from Las Vegas freshman defender Robert Sagel gave the Owls a deserved draw in Ambler against Connecticut last Wednesday. Martinelli was frustrated for much of the game battling a stingy and physical UConn defense in open play but looked threatening on set pieces leading up to the equalizer. The Mechanicsburg native has five goals and three assists on the season for the 7-3-1 Owls, who got the better of Drexel in a 2-0 victory on Saturday.
Two players with Union ties competing in the Big Ten have seen their team's fortunes go in opposite directions. Freshman defender Billy McConnell has been alternating from the starting lineup and the substitute's bench in what has been a roller coaster ride of a season for the defending national champion Indiana Hoosiers. After a 2-0 win over Ohio State on Sept. 29, a game McConnell started, the Hoosiers were on the wrong side of a pair of 2-0 scorelines against Notre Dame and Penn State. Redshirt freshman midfielder Andrew Herr, meanwhile, has started in every game for a Michigan State team that's unbeaten in six straight. That stretch of games includes a thrilling double overtime 3-2 win over nationally ranked Northwestern on Sunday, a pair of clean sheets over Illinois-Chicago and Northern Illinois and a 2-2 draw with nationally ranked Creighton back on Sept. 24.
Virginia forward Darius Madison has continued his good run of form with a goal in a 2-1 win over VCU on Oct. 1 and an assist in a 5-0 win over Pitt on Friday. The sophomore from Philadelphia is third on the team with 3 goals and second in assists with 2. He had two goals and no assists in 17 games played in his freshman year.
North Carolina freshman Colton Storm didn't show any signs of injury or fatigue in a nationally broadcast game (ESPN3) against Duke on Friday night. The Mechanicsburg native's name was called repeatedly throughout the evening in his second start as he ventured forward from the right back spot and was involved in the build up of several chances the Tar Heels failed to convert against a stingy Duke backline. The 0-0 draw was North Carolina's fifth in conference play and Storm played in all 110 minutes of it. He played 104 minutes in his first start, a 1-1 draw against Wake Forest on Sept. 28, after not seeing the field in two games and only getting 35 minutes of playing time in three appearances off the bench.
Three defenders with Union ties have found success recently in setting up goals.
Xavier freshman Todd Pratzner helped set up the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Pitt on Oct. 1, Memphis sophomore Quincy Thomas assisted on the game-winner for the Tigers 3-1 win over Mercer on Sept. 24, and Keegan Rosenberry delivered an assist on the first of Steve Neumann's three goals in the Seton Hall romp.
Rosenberry, a sophomore from Ronks, continues to impress at the right back position for a Georgetown defense that has let up only five goals in 11 games (second fewest in the nation). He has three assists on the season for the surging Hoyas, who are 8-2-1 overall. Sophomore forward Melvin Snoh earned his fifth start of the year for the Hoyas in their 1-0 win over American on Oct. 1 and came in off the bench in the 8-0 win, along with freshman midfielder Jon Azzinnari, who made his college debut off the bench in the Seton Hall game.
Colgate freshman midfielder Colin O'Neill subbed into the Raiders games on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5, earning his first minutes since starting in a 1-0 loss to Vermont on Sept. 6. Penn sophomore midfielder Alex Murphy picked up a red card in a 2-0 loss to Florida International, missed their 3-2 win in the 33rd Street derby over Drexel on Oct. 2 and came off the bench in a 1-0 win over Cornell on Saturday. La Salle sophomore Joe Farrell assisted on the game-winning goal for the second straight game on Sept. 28, one of two assists in the Explorers 3-1 win over Stetson. He's tied for the team lead in assists with four.
Duquesne goalkeeper Sam Frymier had five saves and earned his fifth clean sheet of the season in a 1-0 win over Saint Francis PA on Sept. 29 that snapped the Dukes four game losing streak. James Madison goalkeeper Kyle Morton has missed three straight games after starting the first six for the other Division 1 team named the Dukes.
In Division III play, Cam Alexander scored his third goal for Lebanon Valley in a 4-1 loss to Messiah on Sept. 28 and Amherst College goalkeeper Thomas Bull helped extend his team's unbeaten 6-0-2 mark and has 4 clean sheets and 20 saves on the season while only allowing 5 goals.