Women's Soccer

Courtney Brosnan becomes one of the top goalies in the ACC

Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor

Phil Wheddon said Courtney Brosnan is clearly one of the best goalies in the Atlantic Coast Conference now.

Buffalo was desperate to tie the game at one with just two minutes remaining. But shot after shot was turned away by Syracuse goalie Courtney Brosnan.

In the 88th minute, the Bulls had one last gasp. Moira Petrie laid a perfect corner kick to forward Celina Carrero. She settled the ball well and the only obstacle left between her and the net was Brosnan.

The ball rocketed off her foot. Brosnan swung her arms out swatted the ball out of play.

Players from the men’s soccer team jumped out of their seats in the stands, waving their arms and screaming.

“What an unbelievable save,” one shouted.

Two years ago, Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said that Brosnan had the potential to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This season, Brosnan’s five shutouts are tied for second in the conference. Her 30 saves are tied for fourth in the league. She and the Orange (7-1-2, 0-0-1 ACC), which is off to one of its best starts in school history, have allowed a mere 0.5 goals per game.

“She’s clearly one of the best in the ACC now,” Wheddon said.

Wheddon coached goalkeepers on the U.S. Women’s National Team for seven years. He’s instructed superstars such as Hope Solo and he firmly believes Brosnan could reach that level with the Irish National Team, which she has already been called up to.

Brosnan is a fervent disciple of practicing little details on and off the field. Her obsession with trivialities has proven beneficial in a position where one oversight can completely change the game.

“She has some special intangibles that other goalkeepers don’t have,” Wheddon said. “She’s great at organizing, she reads the game well, and she’s very meticulous. She takes care of the little details and in goalkeeping small details make a big difference.”

Brosnan’s knee has hindered her development, though. She dislocated her right kneecap during a club match just months before entering her freshman season at Syracuse. She missed the first eight games but still finished the season with 68 saves.

Last November, she injured it again and was forced to undergo surgical kneecap realignment. But she recovered in time for the 2016 season. Her conscientious nature and attention to detail has aided her injury recovery.

Wheddon noted she’s preserved herself impressively throughout the process. She reluctantly relinquished the responsibility of taking goal kicks this season to prevent further injury.

When it comes to her five shutouts Brosnan solely credits the defense. She perceives herself as an organizer in the backfield, carefully coaching her defense, rather than a savior in net.

“But I’m definitely there to save a few when I’m needed,” Brosnan said.

Brosnan excels at securing balls in the air — including services into the box — something that’s typically a weak area for goalies in the women’s game, Wheddon said.

She’s also dramatically increased her presence in the net over time, said SU defender Jessica Vigna, who has known her since they were club teammates at the Player Development Academy in New Jersey.

“I’m probably talking for the entire game, even though the backline probably isn’t listening to me,” Brosnan said with a smile. “I love being engaged in the game. I call people’s names, tell them to tuck over, pick up a mark, shift up, things like that.”

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