By Mike Tupa firstname.lastname@example.org
A mobile monolith, his competitive fire and serendipity have all bolstered an already powerful Kenyon College men’s soccer program.
It’s very likely that one of the Lords’ newest signees — William Doenges of Bartlesville High School — could make a major impact as a future stopper.
Doenges — who measures out somewhere around 6-foot-7, or taller — brings explosive athleticism and more determination than an angry grizzly — to the Lords’ mix.
So, how did a kid from the shadow of Price Tower and the tucked-away campus of Bartlesville High find his way to a NCAA-III college in Gambier, Ohio?
“Actually, I spent a lot of in Colorado during the summers,” Doenges explained. “I played pick-up soccer there and one summer a kid told me about Kenyon. … I got a message from the coach and we talked and it turned out to be the right place.”
Doenges chose the challenge of playing for one of the nation’s top D-III programs — Kenyon recorded an 18-1-3 record last season and ended up ranked No. 10 in the nation — and trying to move up in the pecking order of goalkeepers.
“They have four goalies,” Doenges explained. “Their senior goalkeeper is a swimmer. … There was another team I was going to go where I likely would have been the starter. … But, I just wanted the competition.”
During his visit to the Kenyon campus, Doenges said he was impressed by the athletic facilities and the academic opportunities.
“The team was really nice,” he added. “I felt great chemistry. Everything seemed to click.”
Doenges said he’s interested in studying economics and is considering pursuing an engineering degree.
Doenges’ decision to stick with soccer was hastened by not getting the playing time he had hoped for while playing basketball in his freshman year.
“I hadn’t really grown yet,” he explained.
The soccer coach told him that he could push for playing time early in his career.
“I decided I was going to quit basketball and focus on soccer,” said Doenges.
He also ended up giving up competitive school tennis.
“I was more passionate about soccer,” he added.
During his elementary school days in soccer, Doenges had played some in the midfield, but eventually was earmarked as a goalie.
Doenges enjoys most “keeping people from scoring when they think they’re going to score,” he explained.
He recalled one specific instance when he came out to make a stop and saw the shocked facial expression of the would-be scorer.
His biggest challenge is remaining focused, “especially in games when you don’t get as much action,” Doenges explained. “You can go through the majority of the game without have to do much,” but you have to be ready for that one big shot.
Doenges said he was worked on this aspect of his game.
He is the first serious soccer player and athlete in his immediate family.
When they were younger, “my parents weren’t into sports,” said Doenges, adding his younger brother is a goalkeeper in the seventh grade.
In addition to his commitment to soccer, Doenges also is a steady supporter of Bartlesville’s other sports teams.
“I think it’s important,” he explained. “I’m friends with a lot of those guys on those other teams and it’s important that you go out and show support for those guys.”
As he prepares to graduate and move on to the next phase of his life, Doenges said he’ll miss interacting on a daily basis with his Bruin soccer teammates.
“I’ve played a lot of the guys on the high school team for the past seven years,” he said.
He’ll also miss not having his family close by to support him.
Bruin fans, meanwhile, will miss watching this gritty giant stretching his imposing stature to Texas-sized length to make diving saves on ground shots or cloud-high stops on line drives.
His next stop is to the partly-known, semi-unknown of the future.
But, just as Doenges has proven himself in the past, he’ll be armed with his ability, potential, experience, attitude and training to battle the tests that wait ahead.