GSUs goalkeeper could determine SWAC title

Goalkeeper: noun, the last line of defense.In football the last line of defense is said to be the safety. Yet, there are two safeties, in soccer there is only one goalkeeper. One person in which all of the pressure falls. And when the time comes, it is the goalkeeper who must shine.

For the Grambling State University Lady Tiger soccer team, sophomore goalkeeper Cherie Silas has done just that.

“She’s phenomenal,” head coach Tamura Crawley said. “She stops (penalty kicks), she’s great in the air, and she has a presence. She’s pretty much the rock to our defense.”

The numbers don’t lie. Silas had a team-high 75 saves in the 2006 season to complement a season in which she and the Lady Tigers dominated the Southwestern Athletic Conference, outscoring their opponents 34-5 in route to Grambling’s second conference championship in the school’s history.

Silas, along with senior midfielder Natasha Nzeakor, won 2006 SWAC Women’s Soccer All-Tournament honors. Silas also won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.

With a handful of players from last season returning, the Lady Tigers (5-6, 1-0) intend to pick up right where they left off in conference play.

“If we play like we can,” Silas said. “The SWAC is going to have trouble with us.”

Silas has help. Of all the teams in the SWAC this season, no one has taken more shots on goal than the Lady Tigers (161).

They also lead the conference in points (64), goals (24) and assists (11). As of Oct. 2, junior forward Obafemi Alao (17) and freshman forward Ashley Baker (15) lead the conference in points and goals Alao (7), Baker (6).

They must definitely provide the offensive onslaught that can ease the pressure, especially when a goalkeeper faces a difficult situation.

It is not a simple task to repeat. The programs that saw you as just another game on the schedule last season are now gearing up for you.

But if you have the most potent offense in the conference backed by the goalkeeper that won SWAC Tournament MVP last season as your last line of defense you can most definitely work it out. You might even shine.