Springdale’s Andrew Haus is exceeding expectations in net

Monday, September 23, 2019 | 7:14 PM

Before the 2019 soccer season started, Springdale boys soccer coach Cesareo Sanchez had a big hole to fill at the goalkeeper position.

Mike Zolnierczyk, the 2018 Valley News Dispatch boys athlete of the year who only allowed eight goals all season, had graduated and Sanchez was in need of a new netminder. Throughout the preseason, sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Haus impressed Sanchez enough to win the position.

Since then, Haus hasn’t disappointed.

Through nine games this season, the Dynamos are 6-3 overall and 5-2 in section. Haus has five shutouts and has only allowed seven goals. From Sept. 10-17, he didn’t let one ball past him and pitched four straight shutouts.

“With his performance so far this season, he has exceeded my expectations and I think the team’s expectations,” Sanchez said. “I think that everybody thought that he was going to be the weakest link of our defense because he was a first-time starter. But he has been improving step by step, every single game.”

Filling the shoes of Zolnierczyk is a pretty daunting task. Outside of only allowing eight goals last season, the current Robert Morris keeper recorded 14 shutouts last season, including two one-goal decisions in the first two rounds of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.

As the backup last year, Haus got to witness first-hand what it took to have the success the Zolnierczyk did. From training together during practice to watching how he handled himself during games, Haus learned a lot.

“I mean, he was a big motivation for me,” Haus said. “He always helped me with anything I had trouble with and I still look up to him today.”

All that watching and waiting has paid off. Sanchez says Haus has improved each game this season because of how he is listening and putting into action what he is taught. He’s also shown a more confident approach.

“The first game I was pretty nervous. I was shaking in my shoes, not talking as much,” Haus said. “But, as of right now, like halfway through our season, I’m fine. I’m always talking, the defense is doing great, and we’ve come together as a team.”

Since then, the nerves have subsided and Haus has stepped up in big moments for the Dynamos. During a match with No. 2 Avonworth, his team was ahead with a 1-0 lead in the second half when the Antelopes were awarded a penalty kick.

Haus stepped up, made the save and continued to deliver a shutout against a team that has outscored its opponents, 41-9. Although the sophomore has had a solid season in net, he gives a lot of credit to the experienced defense he has in front of him.

“They’ve helped me a lot and not made me nervous whenever I am in there,” Haus said. “If I make a mistake, they cover up for me and help me out a lot. They are such a big part of my shutouts. I mean, I have a good save here and there, but it’s all a combined (effort) for those.”

Heading into this season, the Dynamos were returning every starter other than their goalkeeper. It was a big hole to fill. So far, Haus has answered the call and set up the Dynamos for a successful future.

“Mike came in when he was a freshman too, and in high school, it’s not every year that you find a young goalkeeper that’s as solid as he is,” Sanchez said. “So, it’s very exciting for the future of the Springdale soccer program.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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