Brady Saves Four Goals, Helps Hens Advance to SCIAC Championship

With 30
minutes left on the clock last Saturday, Nov. 1, against SCIAC opponent Whittier College (7-9-2, 5-9-2 SCIAC), tensions were rising for the Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team as it attempted to clinch the No. 2 spot in the league playoffs. Especially anxious was senior goalkeeper Nigel Brady PO ’15, who stands as the team’s last line of defense. Although the Sagehens (12-5-2, 10-4-2 SCIAC) were
leading 2-1, Brady was not convinced that a one-goal lead would suffice on the
small, rain dampened Whittier field.

“It’s
probably the worst field in the league, and that is a big equalizing factor
especially since we tend to use a lot of space to play our game, and that is not
a pass-friendly field,” Brady said.

Fortunately,
Brady got what he desired with an insurance goal with 27 minutes left from
Nathan Shekita PO ’15 off a cross from Felipe Galvis PO ’17.

“This was
my favorite part of the game because at that point we had scored
three goals, and I’m thinking to myself there is no way we’re giving up three goals,” Brady said.

For Brady,
clinching second place in the SCIAC was a huge accomplishment, especially after
a below .500 finish last year. However, Brady’s soccer career started long
before he donned the P-P jersey.

“I started
playing basically when I could walk,” Brady said. “My first pair of shoes
were soccer shoes, and my dad was from Manchester, so it was basically like
you’re growing up with it.”

However,
Brady has not always spent his time on the soccer field in front of the net.

“I started
playing goalie at around 12 when I decided that I was tired and I wanted to
stop running around the field,” Brady joked.

This
mindset changed as he matured as a player and began to appreciate the
position of goalkeeper.

“One of the
reasons I still really like the position and have stuck with it is because it’s
one of the key areas where you get to have a lot of control over the game, both
positively and sometimes negatively,” Brady said.

Both
coaches and players alike have echoed praise for Brady in his crucial role as goalie and an on-the-field leader.

“He demands a lot from himself, so he is able to demand that same effort
from others,” head coach Bill Swartz said. “As a leader, if you don’t demand a lot from yourself, people won’t
follow you.”

“He’s also paid more attention to his
overall fitness in the past year,” Swartz added. “My guess is he decided he wanted to be as
good as he could be, and he has continued that work ethic through the fall.” 

With this work ethic and leadership ability, Brady has also earned the respect of his fellow seniors and teammates.

“Our team has a tradition of having
goalkeepers that are very vocal and sort of assume a leadership position,” Geordie Marriner PO ’15 said. “As
Rollie Thayer, the previous goalie, has graduated, Nigel has stepped in to fill
that role on the team as an unofficial team captain. It’s nice to have someone who’s not wearing the captain’s armband but
can still fill that role.”

Beyond the pitch, Brady has made
good use of his four years at Pomona College. He has been involved with the Claremont
Christian Athletes group, Intervarsity, as well as the Pomona Events Committee
for Pomona’s north campus. Brady was also
recently named to the Capital One Academic All-District 8 team, making him
eligible for Academic All-American honors later this month.

Despite these accolades, Brady
still emphasizes the importance of his teammates and the bonds he has made over
the past four years.

“I’m going to miss … the
camaraderie,” Brady said. “Being able to have a group of guys you go to dinner with, you
spend all of this time with, you go out with. Guys you don’t have to explain
all of this stuff to.”

The feeling is reciprocal: not only will Brady miss the team, but his younger Hens and the team as a whole will miss him on and off the field. 

“Nigel makes saves. Actually, not
just makes saves, he saves goals,” Swartz clarified. “That’s the best compliment
I can give any goalkeeper.”

In P-P’s SCIAC semifinal game against Chapman University on Thursday, Nov. 6, Brady did exactly this: He saved goals. Voja Maric PO ’17 scored two clutch goals as P-P held on for a 2-1 victory over the Panthers as Brady helped the Sagehens advance to the SCIAC Championship game with four huge saves.

The Sagehens will travel to the University of Redlands, the SCIAC regular season champs, on Saturday, Nov. 8, to battle not only for the league title, but also to represent the SCIAC in the NCAA tournament.

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