Hansen, Lions look to hold ENM at bay Sunday

Kim DeRaedt

While the men’s soccer team is celebrating temporary success after capturing its first win, one Lion has found permanent triumph minding the Southern net.

Although, senior goalkeeper Jon Hansen stumbled upon the position somewhat by accident, he has proven to be an impenetrable force in the Southern backfield.

“I just happened to fall into goalkeeping. I offered my services as a backup for my club team and ended up beating out the starter. I just stuck with it because I began to get better,” Hansen explains.

At 6’5”, the Wichita, Kan., native seems to possess all the necessary skills to keep opponents off the scoreboard.

Despite racking up three shutouts last season, Hansen has managed to muster just two clean sheets this year as the Lions’ slump continues to swell.

With each goal that the Lions surrender, there’s no doubt Hansen bears the biggest burden.

“I take every goal personally. Afterwards, I always replay it in my mind and wonder what more I could have done to prevent it.”

Still, Hansen points out that it is crucial to have a short term memory.

“The most important thing as a goalkeeper is staying mentally tough,” Hansen said. “If you don’t, you lose concentration. I approach every game and practice as a new day. I have to forget everything that has happened and play the best a goalkeeper can play. As the last line of defense, my teammates depend on me to play my best every day.”

Hansen has pulled through big for the Lions this year, often keeping the team alive deep into the game against top ranked opponents. With 73 saves on the season, Hansen has denied more than his fair share of scoring opportunities.

“I love the ability to single-handedly change the game,” Hansen said. “It gives me great pleasure to be able to spoil the other team’s hopes of a goal with a great save.”

Nevertheless, great saves require a lot more than athletic ability coupled with generous luck.

“A goalkeeper must have good anticipation,” Hansen said. “Having the ability to know what the other team is going to do before they do it is priceless. With good anticipation, a goalkeeper can position his defense to defend a cross or position himself to make a save before the opposition takes the shot.”

It’s invaluable perception like this that often goes unrecognized and makes goalkeeping one of the most under appreciated positions in sports.

“Most people assume there isn’t much to being a goalkeeper,” Hansen said. “Even other soccer players often overlook the position. All they see is us standing in goal. What they don’t see is what we’re doing when the ball is on the other end. We are constantly directing our teammates.”

It’s the mark of a great goalkeeper to make the difficult saves appear easy. While Hansen’s saves may seem effortless, there has been nothing easy about his task thus far.

Redshirt freshman Nate Evans scored the only goal to help Southern beat Northeastern State on Oct. 15.

Evan’s goal came in the 48th minute of the game.