MEN'S SOCCER: In His First Collegiate Start, Kapp Shows Great Potential For Future
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Oct. 25, 2009. That evening nearly three full years ago was the last time that Boston College’s Justin Luthy watched the kickoff of one of his team’s matches from somewhere other than in front of his goal. The Eagles’ star goalkeeper was absent that night against the University of Virginia due to injury, but Saturday afternoon against San Francisco marked his first game missed for reasons unrelated to injury in his BC career.
Into his sizable shadow stepped freshman Alex Kapp, and the young goalkeeper made five saves on his way to his first career victory and the Eagles’ third victory of the season. The growing pains that accompany the transition to the collegiate level were evident at times, but Kapp did not let the nerves get the best of him.
“Going out there for your first career game for BC, obviously there are going to be some nerves there for any freshman,” Kapp said. “As the game went on, I felt myself get into my own element and play the way I know how to play. With Luthy there, you’re always going to have big shoes to fill. I just needed to go out there and play my game. As long as we all came together, I knew we’d be able to pull out a win.”
Kapp’s career on the Heights got off to an inauspicious start nearly eight and a half minutes into the match, as San Francisco’s Michael Shaddock was able to put his team on the board first.
The goal could hardly be considered Kapp’s fault, however. San Francisco’s Kyle MacLeod made a marauding run down the right sideline, drawing the BC defense out of position. With the backline in disarray, MacLeod slid the ball across the face of the goal, where Shaddock was able to hammer it home.
“The ball came across, and we just weren’t marking in front of their guys,” Kapp said of the goal. “One of them got in front of our defender and put it past me, but we didn’t let that bother us at all. Right after they scored, we got back to our game and played the way we know how to play.”
Although he turned in a very solid and promising performance, Kapp had a few moments that reminded the crowd of his inexperience.
In the 49th minute, Kapp came off his line to clear a bouncing ball. The freshman caught the ball at a weird angle and shanked it to the feet of a San Francisco midfielder. The player took one touch and attempted to chip the out-of-position Kapp, missing the goal frame by a mere few feet.
With 10 minutes remaining, another San Francisco midfielder tested Kapp from 30 yards out. The Eagles keeper was caught a few steps further out than he should have been and almost paid for it, but instead made an impressive athletic play to tip the ball over.
But for each minor mistake made, Kapp displayed flashes of brilliance that would point to the fact that head coach Ed Kelly has found his goalie for the future.
For the time being, however, the Eagles’ fortunes will ride on the shoulders of the temporarily displaced Luthy. The senior’s long list of soccer achievements include currently sitting second on both BC’s all-time career wins list (37) and career minutes played.
From what Kelly had to say, Kapp’s first start will not be enough to wrestle the full time starting spot away from Luthy, whom the coach cited as simply needing a rest.
“Justin had a few bad games, along with everybody else,” Kelly said. “I think he just needs a break. I’m sure in his mind he thinks it’s because he’s not playing well, but we also want to get [Kapp] some games too, because he’s a top quality goalkeeper. Justin is a great keeper, and we won’t forget or disrespect what he’s done here and accomplished for us. I may stick with Kapp for Tuesday, but I think Justin needs to come back into the fray against North Carolina State. Justin just needed to be removed and watch the game a little.”
While it is clear that Luthy remains the starter in goal for Kelly’s team, Kapp absolutely did enough on Saturday afternoon to put nervous minds to rest regarding the Eagles’ future after Luthy. The New York native may find opportunities tough to come by for the rest of the season, but this win was definitely one for the future.