October 31, 2012

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS: Potter steps it up for Husson

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Last season, Husson University listed Brian Potter as a goalie/forward on its men's soccer roster. This season, Potter's focus is on nothing but the net for the Eagles.

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GOOD HANDS: Erskine Academy graduate Brian Potter has a 0.60 goals against average and an .875 save percentage along with four shutouts in 10 games for Husson University this season.

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College: Husson
Sport: Soccer
High school: Erskine Academy
Major: Business Administration

A sophomore business administration major and Erskine Academy graduate, Potter's play is one of the big reasons the Eagles are contending for a second consecutive championship and a return to the NCAA Division III tournament.

Husson (14-4-0) is the No. 2 seed in the North Atlantic Conference tournament. The Eagles host No. 3 New England College (12-4-3) this afternoon at 4 in a conference semifinal game.

"They're definitely a good team. We beat them in overtime at their place (a 2-1 win on Oct. 6)," Potter said.

This summer Potter trained with professional players in England.

"It was definitely a good experience for me. It was a high level of competition. I learned a lot," Potter said.

For example, Potter learned to be more accurate with his kicks. English goalies can punt the ball to pretty much wherever they mean to, Potter said. That's something he's tried to incorporate into his game this season.

"Here, I was always taught to kick the ball as far as I can," Potter said.

Potter is coming off a freshman season in which he was named the first-team all-conference goalie. This season, Potter's improvement has been across the board, Husson coach Jeff Gettler said.

"He's a little better, technically, with everything, and he came in with pretty solid habits," Gettler said. "His mentality is better. He's commanding his area. His composure is better. He's commanding his back four (defenders). He's gotten better in every facet."

Better communication with his defenders is another skill Potter worked on in England.

"I can see the whole field. I have to be a leader," Potter said.

Potter is helped by Husson's strong defense, of that there's no doubt. While Potter leads the conference in goals allowed (6) and goals against average (0.60), and is second in the league in save percentage (.875), he's 10th in saves with 42, almost 100 behind Lyndon State's Jason Gray, the league leader.

Potter is ranked eighth in all of Division III in save percentage and 25th in the nation in goals against average.

When he has to be ready, Gettler said, Potter is.

"We don't give up a lot of chances," Gettler said. "He may go 70 minutes without an important ball, then suddenly he has to be focused. He's made big saves in almost every game."

Potter has started and played in 10 games for the Eagles, splitting time with senior Mason Smith. That rotation was designed in part because Gettler feels he has two competent keepers and in part to keep Potter fresh for the playoffs.

"We have the luxury of having two good goalkeepers," Gettler said. "We made sure Potter didn't have to play back-to-back days, because it wasn't necessary."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242


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