Poll: Best Goalie (Gulp) of All-Time?
by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Brian Dougherty’s heroics in the FIL World Championships, Chris Garrity’s turn-back-the-clock performance in last weekend’s MLL championship game and Scott Bacigalupo’s pending induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame has the brain trust here at Lacrosse Magazine thinking.
Who is the best goalie of all-time?
As you’ll see in the adjoining fan poll, we’d like your take. Poll results will appear in the October magazine.
But before you cast your vote, check out the candidates below -- including 10 goalies that made the poll and 10 that missed the cut. Any we missed? Let us know in the comments section.
10 THAT MADE THE POLL
“Batch” is set to become just the ninth goalkeeper inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in October. He and Kevin Lowe (a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee) were huge recruiting scores for a then-unproven Bill Tierney at Princeton. Bacigalupo started all 60 games of his collegiate career. He went 52-8, led the Tigers to two NCAA championships (winning tournament MVP honors both times) and is one of just three players in history to win the C. Markland Kelly Award as the nation’s top goalkeeper three times (1992-94). He nary touched a lacrosse stick again. Who knows what the Wall Street broker could have done if afforded the professional opportunities goalies enjoy today?
“The Cat” played in relative obscurity at Brown until his senior year in 1997, when he won the Kelly Award. A two-time All-American, he finished his college career with a 68-percent save rate. He even scored three goals at Bruno. Cattrano’s best days between the pipes, however, came with the advent of Major League Lacrosse -- where he dueled with Brian Dougherty for rights as the top goalkeeper in the professional ranks. Cattrano led three different teams (Baltimore Bayhawks, Philadelphia Barrage and Long Island Lizards) to MLL championship games, won three Steinfeld Cups and was a three-time MLL Goalie of the Year.
“Doc,” whose colorful personality and antics off the field only amplified his greatness on it, recently retired from lacrosse after leading Team USA to a gold medal in the 2010 FIL World Championships in Manchester, England. His final performance was vintage Dougherty -- 15 saves, including two huge ones in sequence in the fourth quarter, to thwart Canada in a 12-10 U.S. victory. Doc’s dominance goes back to his days in College Park, where he was a two-time Kelly Award winner for Maryland and became legendary for his heroics in the 1995 NCAA tournament. (He won tournament MVP despite the Terps’ loss to Syracuse in the final.) Like Cattrano, he went on to do bigger things in the pro ranks, winning three MLL titles (with the Long Island Lizards in 2001 and Philadelphia Barrage in 2006 and 2007) and three MLL Goalie of the Year honors. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning 1998 U.S. men’s team.
During the 1970s and 80s, it seemed, the best goalkeepers always resided at Homewood Field. One of the best in Johns Hopkins’ legacy of great keepers was Federico, a three-time All-American and Kelly Award winner who coincidentally led the Blue Jays to NCAA championships all three of those years (1978-80). Federico was the MVP of the 1979 NCAA championship game.
Lacrosse fans won’t soon forget the image of a mud-caked Tillman Johnson celebrating Virginia’s 2003 NCAA championship at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. It was the first time the NCAA put the final four in an NFL stadium, and Johnson delivered an “NFL Films”-worthy performance. His three man-down saves in a fourth-quarter flurry against Johns Hopkins in the final were featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” before lacrosse became a staple on the “Worldwide Leader.” Johnson was named tournament MVP, won the Kelly Award -- not to mention the Enners Award as the nation’s top player, regardless of position -- and helped propel lacrosse into the national spotlight.
Schimoler was a four-time All-American at Cornell, where he led the Big Red to NCAA championship games in 1987 and ’88. He holds the NCAA record for most saves in a tournament. He made 85 saves in the 1988 playoffs -- 16 against UMass, 27 against North Carolina, 23 against Virginia and 19 against Syracuse.
No one’s name is more firmly staked to North Carolina’s glory days than Sears’. He was a dominant goalie for two national championship teams in 1981 and ’82, winning the Kelly Award both years – not to mention the Enners Award in ’82. He was also the ACC Player of the Year in 1982, the same year he went on to win a gold medal and all-world honors with Team USA in the world championships. He was part of the 50th anniversary National Lacrosse Hall of Fame class inducted in 2007.
Tierney is the only goalie in lacrosse history to win NCAA, world and MLL titles. He held the NCAA Division I single-season (5.70) and career (6.65) goals against average records until Navy’s Matt Russell broke both marks. He was a two-time All-American and won the Kelly Award in 2001. Tierney backstopped Princeton to the 1998 and 2001 NCAA championships, the latter being the last time the Tigers won it all. He would go on to lead Team USA to the 2002 world championship (not to mention a second, silver medal stint in 2006) and the Baltimore Bayhawks to the 2005 MLL championship.
10 THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE POLL
No goalie has won three NCAA Division I championships since Syracuse's Matt Palumb did so over 20 years ago. In this age of increasing parity, that would be quite a feat for Galloway, a starter at 'Cuse since his freshman year who led the Orange to titles in 2008 and 2009 before a stunning ouster by Army this year. Galloway might be the best outlet passer of this entire group, with the ability to hit a man in stride in opposite attack zone. He won the Kelly Award this year and could go down as one of the all-time greats. The jury's out on this rising senior. Syracuse is a favorite to win the NCAA title in 2011. He could do some damage in the pro ranks too.
Inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1988, Hilliard’s exploits at Cornell predate the NCAA era. He backstopped the Big Red from 1966 to 1968. Cornell went undefeated with Hilliard between the pipes in ’66 and ’68. He won the Kelly Award in ’67 and ’68.
Jarboe was so good at his craft that he shut it down for seven years, came back and was still the best around. After back-to-back All-American, Kelly Award campaigns at Navy (1999-2000), Jarboe did several tours abroad and settled in San Diego as a helicopter pilot. When the MLL started a franchise in Los Angeles, he was picked up by the now-defunct Riptide, led the team to an MLL championship game appearance in 2007 and was named the 2008 MLL Goalkeeper of the Year. He also made the 2010 U.S. men’s team’s 40-man training roster before bowing out to Dougherty and Adam Fullerton in the final cut.
One of the first in the lineage of great Hopkins goalies, Matthews these days is better known as Dr. Les Matthews – team physician for the Blue Jays and Team USA. Most recently, he oversaw the ACL surgery that had Shawn Nadelen back in stars and stripes just five months later. Matthews was as good with a stick as he is with a scalpel. He was a first team All-American and Kelly Award winner in 1972 and 1973.
He only started two years at Notre Dame, but the 6-foot-4, 250-pound behemoth made a huge impact and could very well redefine the position as a professional. Rodgers led the Irish to the 2010 NCAA championship game and became the first player since Doc to be named MVP of the NCAA tournament from the losing side.
Schwartzman makes this list on his well-deserved reputation as a “big game goalie,” as well as his potential to flourish in the pro ranks. He never did win a Kelly Award; he was never that consistent. But he did lead Johns Hopkins to NCAA championships in 2005 and 2007. Who could forget his fateful, sprawling kick save to preserve the Blue Jays’ crown in the 2007 final against Duke? Schwartzman was the 2009 MLL Goalie of the Year with the Denver Outlaws, with whom, it appears, he has a promising future.
You could argue that Navy has a goalie lineage that’s almost as great at Hopkins’. Wedekind was considered by many as the best of the Navy goalies during this period. He won Kelly Awards in 1963 and ’65.
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