Geneva junior goalkeeper Joe Mozden has been one of the bright spots in a challenging season for the Vikings’ boys soccer team. The goalkeeper spot was a question entering the season but Mozden has provided solid play in net for Geneva, which hosts rival Batavia at 11 a.m. today in a 3A regional opener. In this week’s Weekend Chit-chat with sports editor Jay Schwab, Mozden touches base on today’s match, his midseason concussion and a witty teammate. The following is an edited transcript:
What’s your mindset about the Batavia game?
I think that although we beat them in the regular season we can’t handle them in the same way we handled them before. We definitely have improved, and we’d be underestimating our opponent if we said they didn’t improve.
It’s been a pretty tough season for you guys. How do you keep from turning on each other when things aren’t going as well as you’d like?
It was tough in the beginning of the season. We’ve really pulled it together at the end of the season. We’ve had a lot more wins toward the end. I think something just clicked. We have a lot of individually talented kids and we just had to pull together as a group, and I think we’ve done that. ... I think everyone is really happy with where we’re at now as opposed to where we were at before.
With the new turf this year, do goalies like it as much as field players?
I mean it’s definitely faster-paced. There are no awkward bounces in between the goal posts, the field is always clean, so I enjoy it, yes. I find the game much faster and much more enjoyable to watch and to play in.
What’s the toughest type of shot for you to save?
For me it’s usually, probably maybe a 20-yard shot where as you get more experience shooters on you, the ball usually has more bend or swerve as kids get older. They could put a lot of good shots on goal from 20 yards out and the ball has more movement from 20 yards out so if you have a good strike, usually a 20- or 25-yard, well-placed shot is extremely difficult to block.
You had a concussion earlier this year, right?
You could say that, yeah.
Was that the first one you’ve had?
Yeah, I got punched in the jaw [defending] a cross and it made me dizzy for 3 to 5 minutes after. I didn’t think it was a concussion but I just go by what the trainer says so, yeah, it probably was the first one I’ve ever gotten.
Was the aftermath scary for you?
Not exactly. The thought of having a concussion scared me a little but the trainer said I’d be fine after a couple weeks, just let me know, so I was glad to know there was not going to be any long-term effects to that.
Who has the best sense of humor on the Vikings?
I’d probably have to say David Goodyear. I roomed with him for one of our away tournaments (at Muscatine, Iowa), and he cracked me up. He got me into the swing of things with the varsity team, and he’s a great teammate to be around.