Sports & Outdoors

Logger Spotlight, Sept. edition: Landon Gauthier shines brightly

Every month, The Trail will look at the best of the Puget Sound sports world, and name one athlete who excels both on and off the field in “Logger Spotlight.” This September, that honor goes to junior forward for the Loggers men’s soccer team: Landon Gauthier (Fox Island, Wash.)
After starting the season a bit slowly with a tie followed by a loss, men’s soccer has been on fire ever since, winning their last seven games in a row, including four straight in conference play. Gauthier has played a vital role in the team’s resurgence.
Obviously, the success of a team can never just be traced to the performance of one player, but Gauthier has clearly had a major impact on the team’s success so far in 2012. Gauthier is tied for the team lead in goals scored, and has an assist on top of his scoring success.
Gauthier has been a major part of the team since his freshman year, appearing in every game that the Loggers have played over the last two years, and starting more than half of them.
He played well during those first two years, scoring four goals over the period. However, perhaps his most important role was that of a set-up man, as he accumulated 11 assists in 2010 and 2011, which led the team over that time.
However, now a junior on a team that has only two seniors, Gauthier is expected to take on more of a leadership role. And in doing so, Gauthier has made himself more of a scorer, as he is only one goal away from doubling his career number of goals through less than half of the 2012 season. And while there is still plenty of season left to be played, the early results have been encouraging. The 7-1-1 record that has propelled the Loggers into the NSCAA’s top 25 obviously speaks for itself, but Gauthier has also contributed on a more tangible level.
Obviously, the three goals are encouraging, and are a career high for Gauthier already, but perhaps the best sign is that all three goals have been scored in conference play, suggesting that Gauthier has been playing his best when it counts most.
Perhaps Gauthier’s finest moment of the young season came in a Sept. 15 bout against NWC rival Pacific (Ore.). With his team trailing 1-0 at the half, Gauthier took matters into his own hands, scoring twice within the first eight minutes to give the Loggers a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. As Logger Athletics points out, Gauthier now has three of the Loggers’ past four goals. And perhaps the most significant aspect of the game was that the first of those two goals came on a penalty kick, suggesting that Coach Reece Olney trusts Gauthier as a scorer and a leader for the Loggers.
While there is still plenty of time left in the season, you cannot help but be impressed with this team so far. But a team is only as good as its leaders, and so far, Gauthier has done a fantastic job of leading his team toward postseason play. Here’s hoping his success continues as the Loggers draw ever closer to the promised land.