Waynesburg goalie Brandon Daughtry channels other sports
Brandon Daughtry credits playing other sports for his proficiency as a soccer goalkeeper, but baseball, he said, has helped mold him into the shot-stopper he has become at Waynesburg University.
To Daughtry, timing is everything. You might say there is no fear on the pitch.
“You walk into the batter's box and face 80 MPH fastballs,” the 5-foot-9 junior said. “That slows the soccer shots down for me. It makes them seem like they're in slow motion.
“And when I was younger, I was a catcher and I blocked everything.”
Makes perfect sense.
Daughtry, who also credits basketball and street hockey for his soccer skills, has become one of the most feared net-protectors in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. He has helped the Yellow Jackets to an 8-1-1 record that includes a notable win over nemesis Grove City.
Daughtry is 8-0-1 in goal, has a pair of shutouts and has surrendered just 12 goals. His play has earned him PAC player of the week honors twice — including this past week.
“We knew we were going to be able to raise some eyebrows,” said Daughtry, who has 42 saves. “I think we have beaten everybody else's expectations. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. We don't expect anything short of the PAC championship.”
Daughtry calls a recent 1-0 victory over Grove City a statement win.
“It has been 11 years since we beat them,” Daughtry said. “But it wasn't an upset in our eyes.”
Waynesburg's sports information department referred to the win as “historic,” and for good reason. The Yellow Jackets hadn't solved the Wolverines since 2002 and hadn't scored against them since ‘05.
Grove City opened the season ranked No. 2 in the PAC coaches' poll.
Daughtry's skills were evident at Burrell when he posted a school-record 14 shutouts and allowed just 12 goals as a senior. His adjustment to the college game has been swift.
“The biggest thing has been getting experience and preparing mentally,” he said. “Last year I ended up becoming the starter so I am came back ready as a junior.”
Daughtry started all 17 games as a sophomore and led the conference in saves (114). He posted six shutouts and was an all-PAC honorable mention pick.
“I look at every game and expect to get a shutout,” Daughtry said. “I don't have as amany as I did last year, but I'll take wins over the shutouts.
“You have to be confident, not cocky. I look at the other team and say nobody should be able to score on me.”
Daughtry has befriended a former high school soccer rival, teammate John Allen, who graduated from Springdale. The 6-3 Allen is a center backfielder at Waynesburg.
“He is a huge presence, literally and figuratively,” Daughtry said. “He knows as soon as the ball gets by him, I am there for him. The thing is, he doesn't let a lot get behind him. He has a calm presence.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.