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Syracuse Lacrosse: Another Goalie Battle Looming for 2017

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After years of stability at the goalie position, the last five seasons have featured numerous starters in net. That is unlikely to change in 2017 with SU entering the fall with a deep crew of netminders.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Throughout the nineties the Syracuse Orange had a lot of stability at the goalie position. Recently, however, you may have noticed that SU has been using a carrousel of players in the crease. Check out the numbers below of every goalie who has started a game since 2003.

2003-16 Syracuse Starting Goalies

Year

Name

Starts - Total Team Games

Minutes Played -€” Total Team Minutes

2016

Evan Molloy

9-17

534:35 -€” 1025:21

Warren Hill

8-17

470:01 -€” 1025:21

2015

Bobby Wardwell

16-16

869:30 -€” 965:06

2014

Dominic Lamolinara

15-16

533:10 -€” 965:31

Bobby Wardwell

1-16

413:10 -€” 965:31

2013

Dominic Lamolinara

15-20

880:53 -€” 1207:57

Bobby Wardwell

5-20

306:49 -€” 1207:57

2012

Bobby Wardwell

9-17

508:45 -€” 1020

Dominic Lamolinara

3-17

307:45 -€” 1020

Matthew Lerman

5-17

203:30 - 1020

2011

John Galloway

17-17

985:45 -€” 1029:24

2010

John Galloway

15-15

821:09 -€” 911:12

2009

John Galloway

17-18*

957:56 -€” 1081:20

Al Cavalieri

1-18

123:24 -€” 1081:20

2008

John Galloway

18-18

1010:51 -€” 1094:11

2007

Peter Coluccini

13-13

734:31 -€” 780:00

2006

Peter Coluccini

15-15

853:15 -€” 905:33

2005

Jay Pfeifer

13-13

777:40 -€” 798:16

2004

Jay Pfeifer

17-17

948:51 -€” 1020:00

2003

Jay Pfeifer

16-16

910:17 -€” 963:47

*Galloway was sick with the flu for the quarterfinals game in the 2009 NCAAT versus Maryland

The goaltender position, in any sport, is a unique one, somewhat similar to the pitching position pitchers in baseball. Goalies are weird people, I grew up as a goalie so I can say that. Most are creatures of habit who rely on routine. When you start switching up goalies you disrupt that rhythm and risk creating a head case out of your goalie. Furthermore, playing a two-man rotation and splitting time by halves is not optimal either. My goalie coach once told me the backup goalie position is the toughest in all of sports and I truly believe that to be true. There is nothing more difficult than coming into net cold in the middle of game, even if the switch is made at halftime. Obviously, if a netminder isn't playing well and the situation demands a change than that's what needs to happen, as it did this past year. Of course switching one goalie for another midseason and sticking with that second player is a different case. But taking out your starter can sometimes a breakdown in the mental stability of a player so if that replacement doesn't work out then you could have sabotaged the situation completely.

Clearly I believe stability at the position is important, and that's not something we've seen at Syracuse lately. Nevertheless, there's something to be said for competition, and the Orange will have plenty of preseason competition this fall.

The NCAAT game against Maryland aside, Evan Molloy put up a strong performance in the second half of the season. Due to his solid play, I had high hopes that we would finally see some stability in net for 2017, but now it appears that we might once again have a goalie battle entering the fall.

Willie Klan will be transferring from Ohio State to SU. The Rochester, NY native was a 2015 All-American and participated in the Under Armour All-American game. While he did not see the field at OSU, Klan did participate in the 2016 FIL U19 World Championships as a member of team USA. The incoming sophomore played 341 minutes and gave up just 23 goals for an astounding 5.39 goals against average and a .500 save percentage. His seven stops in the second half of the gold medal game versus Canada was crucial for team USA's comeback victory.

Dom Madonnna transferred to Syracuse prior to last season. In 2015, while at Merrimack College, Madonna started 15 of 16 games and sported a 7.25 goals against average and a .586 save percentage. As a freshman at Merrimack he made 11 starts with an 8.31 GAA and a .556 save percentage. I understand that Merrimack College is Division II but his numbers are nevertheless compelling.

Redshirt senior Tyler Avallone was third on the depth chart in 2016. He's played a total of 26:46 minutes in six career games while making 4 saves and giving up 5 goals. Desko was high on Avallone coming into the 2016 season but he will be once again competing against a group of very good goalies for time this year.

Additionally, there are two incoming freshman goalies in Drake Porter who played for Saint Andrews College Prep (Ontario, Canada) and IMG Academy (FL) and Luke Strang who played his high school ball at Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD). Strang was named to the Under Armour underclass Washington, DC regional team in 2015 while Porter played for team Canada in the recent FIL U-19 World Championships but did not see any action.

It should be noted that by my count there is only one goalie committed in the next three incoming classes after the class of 2016, Shahe Katchadurian.

It's always odd when your returning starter has 19 fewer starts at the collegiate level than an incoming player, but that's the situation. Syracuse's returning starter, Molloy, has just nine starts under his belt while his primary competition, Madonna, has started 26 division II games (I did a little side-by-side comparison between the two below). Not only that, but there is another transfer coming in who is already up to speed at the division I level and has proven himself on the international stage. Oh, and along with Avallone, who was in the mix for the backup position last fall, will be two incoming freshman. I don't think there's been a time in recent memory when SU has had so much competition for the goalie position.

Side-By-Side Comparison of Career Statistics Between Evan Molloy and Dom Madonna

Madonna (Division II)

Molloy (Division I)

Starts

26

9

Minutes

1584:10

556:39

Save %

.571

.529

GAA

7.76

7.99

GA

205

74

Saves

273

83