One is from Rome, Ga.
The other is from Howland.
Despite their different backgrounds, Georgian Miguel Dominguez and former Penobscot Valley High School star Jenn Plourde have one thing in common: their job is to keep the ball out of Husson University’s soccer nets.
They are the goalkeepers for the Eagles and backboned their teams’ North Atlantic Conference tournament championships.
Dominguez, a junior, has a 2.10 goals-against average and a .723 save percentage. In his last three starts, all wins, he has made 21 saves and allowed just two goals. He has been involved in four shutouts.
Plourde, a senior, has a miniscule 0.36 GAA and a .915 save percentage with eight shutouts.
Both goalies will be tested in their NCAA Division III tourney openers on Saturday morning at 11 when the 10-8-2 Husson men travel to RPI in Troy, N.Y., to take on NESCAC champ Williams College (14-2-1) and the Husson women, 15-5, visit 12-3-2 Middlebury College (Vt.).
“There’s no question this has been his best year,” said Husson men’s coach Seth Brown about Dominguez. “He has hit the weight room and gotten bigger and stronger. He has become more athletic. He’s very brave off his line and that’s what we need. We need him coming off his line and getting stuff in the air.”
Dominguez said he has become “more aggressive” and is coming out off his line more in recent weeks and that has been a vital ingredient in his strong stretch run.
He also credited his defenders and the team camaraderie for his success and the success of the team.
“We’ve been really together,” said Dominguez who began playing the position when he was “10 or 11.
“I started as a forward and I was always good at punting the ball. So my coach just put me in goal and I’ve never moved since,” said Dominguez, who turns 20 today.
“He has really stepped up to the level we need him to be at, especially in that championship game (11 saves in 3-1 win),” said Husson senior back Billy Shannon. “He has played very well. He was the MVP of the tournament for a reason.”
Dominguez and the Eagles lost in the previous two NAC title games to Castleton State.
“We had to get it this year after losing two years in a row. The third one was a charm,” said Dominguez.
Unlike Dominguez, who has been Husson’s goalie for three seasons, this is Plourde’s first year as a starter after backing up Tatyana Wolterbeek her first two seasons. Plourde didn’t play as a freshman.
“It has been a great year. My defense has been tremendous,” said Plourde. “When I read the stats, they’re unreal to me. I can’t thank my defense enough for it.”
Plourde had to beat out junior Rozlyn Petersen for the position as coach Keith Bosley said he had an “open competition” between the pair for the job.
“They have both improved incredibly. Jenn’s willpower to learn the game, technically, and to learn the footwork as well as the position so she maximizes every bit of her athletic ability [won the position for her],” said Bosley. “She analyzes every game with us and she thinks ahead, tactically. She has had a fantastic year.”
Plourde said now that she’s a senior, “I know what it takes in the leadership role. I’m trying to help guide the defense.”
“She talks a lot out there which we like,” said Husson senior midfielder Amy Sanz. “That helps us. She knows when to come out and when to stay back. She has played really well.”
Plourde, like Dominguez, was a forward “but they didn’t have a goalie in middle school and I was one of the more athletic players on the team.
“Then, when I was a freshman in high school, the goalie got hurt right before a scrimmage so I jumped in there and I’ve been there ever since,” said Plourde.
There is a lot of pressure that goes with the position but Plourde said the pressure is “something I enjoy. It’s a position in which you can only blame yourself.”