Maddy Alaluf looks to see Saluki soccer improve heading into the fall

Freshman+goalkeeper+Maddy+Alaluf+catches+the+ball+during+their+first+practice+on+Wednesday%2C+Aug.+7%2C+2019+at+the+Lew+Hartzog+Track+%26+Field+Complex.+

Isabel Miller | @isabelmillermedia

Freshman goalkeeper Maddy Alaluf catches the ball during their first practice on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 at the Lew Hartzog Track & Field Complex.

By Adam Warfel, Sports Reporter

Sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Alaluf was encouraged by the steps Saluki soccer took this season, and is looking forward to see more success next season.

Alaluf grabbed the starting goalkeeper position this season after a three-way competition in the fall, and after having an injury last season she was ready for the opportunity.

“Last year I was actually injured, so I feel like this year I didn’t really  know what to expect,” Alaluf said. “ I didn’t know who was going to be the starting keeper. Iended up getting the starting position and playing in every single game except for one. “

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The lone game Alaluf did not play in was the Northern Iowa game on March 21, as she had to sit out because of an illness.

Alaluf showed a glimpse of what SIU can have in their second year as a program, as she ranked fourth in the conference in shutouts and saves per game.

“I didn’t really know what to expect because we’ve never had conference play or anything,” Alaluf said. “ Finishing fourth in that is very exciting and it’s cool to see that all my hard work is paying off.”

In their first three games of conference play, Alaluf helped keep Southern, with all three games going into overtime and two of them resulting in draws.

“Ending in a tie going into overtime the first three games was very frustrating. Obviously you want to win,” Alaluf said. “My approach was just to not get scored on and during those games I did my job and didn’t let a goal get past me.”

After the Missouri State loss on April 7, the women’s soccer team slowly began to realize that they would not get the opportunity to play in the postseason, as only the top six of eight teams get the chance to play in the conference tournament.

“After that last game all of us were really sad. It hit us that we’re not going to postseason,” Alaluf said. “ I’ve been watching these postseason games and it’s frustrating because the teams that moved on we tied, we could have totally beat them.”

The Salukis did score their lone goal of the season in that game though and Alaluf said that it allowed for some confidence heading into next season.

“I think scoring in our last game made us very happy, we took a lot of shots on goal it just wouldn’t get in the net,” Alaluf said. “ Knowing that we can score gave us a lot more confidence for next year.”

Alaluf, a Sports Administration major, came to Carbondale from Newport Beach, Calif., and being apart of a program that is brand new is not something she has not experienced before, and it was part of what sold her on coming to Southern.

“Honestly being a first year program, my high school was a first year program too. We were the first graduating class actually,” Alaluf said.” I felt like to continue that into college was really cool. Knowing what to do in high school I could help this team become better.”

For fans that look at this years record, 0-6-3, they could be wary of the future success, but Alaluf said from her experience as a new program patience is important.

“Honestly it takes a lot of time. For me I learned you can’t have expectations you kinda just have to go with what you have and have trust in  each other and have confidence in each other to know that we’re all here together and we’re a team,” Alaluf said.

On a team that will boast 14 juniors next year, that came here as freshman, Alaluf said that it can only mean good things for the Salukis next year.

“The fact that we’re all going to be juniors is going to be a very good. I think it’s going to be very good for us and I think it’s going to be an advantage for us…,” Alaluf said. “ Playing together since freshman year I think that’s going to be very good for us.”

Next year the season will be in the fall, with it being pushed back to the spring this year because of the pandemic.

Alaluf said that this season allowed them to realize what they need to do to improve and be even better next year.

“ I am so excited for next fall, I think after this season all of us know what we have to do, how much we have to get in shape,” Alaluf said. “We just know what to do and what to expect for next fall. I think next fall will be very good for us.”

While the schedule for the fall has not been released yet if it is like the fall of 2019, expect the Salukis to be back in action in early August.

Sports Reporter Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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