Job in net grows on Liberty's Bachman


It was one of those "a coach needs someone to play in goal" stories and Jeff Bachman was there for the taking.

He was 9 years old playing midfield and attack for Freedom Optimist when he figured he'd see what it was like to be on the other end of a lacrosse shot.

"It was more of a curiosity at first," Bachman said. "Then once I started, I was liking it more and more."

And so a goalie was born, and Bachman is now a senior co-captain in goal for playoff-bound Liberty.

The word that keeps coming back at Liberty coach Troy Barnes when he discusses his goalie is "solid."

"He's provided us with solid goal-keeping," Barnes said. "He's been solid throughout. He's been our man."

Bachman, also a standout defender for the Liberty soccer team, has a good understanding of the different roles he plays and how a lot of the team's success in its playoff run will come down to his effort in goal.

"A goalkeeper is like a quarterback in football where you see the whole field," Bachman said. "You have to be a leader and keep things going, letting everyone know what's happening."

Bachman said the Lions (7-5) have had a so-so regular season by their standards and they are looking to make up for it in the playoffs. They closed the regular slate with a 21-3 win over Howard in which Bachman came up with 12 saves. It was just what the team needed with the postseason beginning tomorrow.

"Things have gone OK, not quite as good as we'd have liked them to. I think we're going to surprise some teams," Bachman said.

"Toward the end of the season, we've been playing pretty well and the team is pumped up for the playoffs. When we're playing well, we're executing the basic fundamentals -- communicating, catching, throwing and scoring -- it just all rubs off on each other."

His toughest job is keeping the ball out of the Liberty net, something he's done well in his first varsity season as a starter. Barnes, who coached the junior varsity program before taking over the head coaching job last year, knew what to expect from Bachman.

"He's mature and plays with a lot of poise," Barnes said. "He's very quick with his stick and reacts to the ball well. He also makes good decisions after he makes a save. He's kept us in games we shouldn't have been in."

Bachman said the short time he played up front and at midfield when he was getting started has helped his play in goal. "Playing midfield and lacrosse gave me experience at the offensive end and now I know what to look for," he said.

He also likes getting the offense started with good distribution from the back after a big save.

"I just try to keep my head up and look for breaking midfielders to start fast breaks," he said.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad