BY KATELYN SPELLMAN
As the scoreboard counted down the remaining seconds in the Montrose versus Elk Lake boys’ varsity soccer game on Sept. 21, the Meteors almost saw their one goal lead slip away as a defender accidently headed the ball toward his own goal. Throwing the ball out of the net while diving backwards into the goal, senior goalie Danny Simonds made the save and preserved the victory.
This is just one of the many high pressure situations Simonds has faced while playing goalie. However, he enjoys the pressure and high expectations that come with the position, he said.
For his “great performance in a high pressure position”, Simonds has been named Athlete of the Week.
“(Simonds) deserves recognition for the way he’s played all season and the way he approaches every game,” head coach Dan Lukasavage said. “It’s all or nothing every game for him; he’s a true competitor.”
Son of Jeff and Jenny Simonds of Brackney, Simonds has played soccer since seventh grade, when he played forward for the Meteors junior high soccer team. Out of necessity, however, in eighth grade, he switched positions.
“I started playing goalie in eighth grade after our main goalie got kicked in the head during a game,” Simonds said. “At the end of the junior high season, (Coach Lukasavage) approached me and told me that he needed a goalie for (varsity) next season, so I decided to stay with it and went to some goalie camps the following summer.”
Simonds has started every varsity game in goal for the Meteors since ninth grade and was named to the Lackawanna League second all-star team last year. He also helped lead the team to the District 2 AA Championship game where they fell to Holy Cross. This season he has led the Meteors to a 4-4 record and fourth-place spot in the Lackawanna League Division 2.
Simonds’ success this season and in previous ones can be attributed to a variety of factors, according to Coach Lukasavage.
“(Simonds) has a great work ethic and a winning attitude,” Coach Lukasavage said. “He’s very positive and is a great leader.”
In addition to his two shutouts this season, Simonds has scored a goal, the game winner over West Scranton on Sept. 16, and had one assist.
“Occasionally, (Simonds) will play forward, mostly because of his sheer athletic ability,” Coach Lukasavage said. “But he knows the game, can finish and always provides a spark when we are playing flat.”
Simonds hopes to continue his soccer career as a walk-on for Penn State next season.
“Over the summer, I went to (Penn State’s) soccer camp to try and get noticed,” Simonds said. “We taped the Elk Lake game and sent it to them, and this spring, I’m going to the walk-on tryout.”
For now, however, he has his sights set on another district championship game but with a different end result.
“This year I want to win the title,” he said.
Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Doug and Cindy Lattner of McDonald’s in Montrose.