August 30, 2013

Eight Vie to Fill Dougherty's Shoes for Team USA

by Sean Burns | | Twitter

Gallery: Team USA Tryout Invitees - Goalie

The last line of defense, goalies are the anchor of any good team, and Team USA has some big names to choose from for 2014.

After the announcement of the Team USA Tryout Invitees (Analysis) earlier this month, took an in-depth look at each position and the players vying for spots on the 2014 edition of Team USA. We will be running updated versions of each leading into this weekend's tryout at Goucher college.

See Also: Attack | Defense | SSDM | Face-Off | LSM | Midfield | Goalies

It is undoubtedly one of the more indelible images from the 2010 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Manchester, England. Team USA goalie Brian Dougherty stands with a little bit of a misty-eyed look, an American flag draped across his shoulders, while defender Kyle Sweeney plants a kiss on his cheek after clinching gold with a 12-10 win over Canada.

Doc, who retired after that triumph, had just put up a huge fourth quarter, helping anchor the U.S. victory. He finished with 15 saves. But with his retirement, neither he, nor backup Adam Fullerton — who was not invited to the tryouts — will be on the sidelines or in net for Team USA next summer.

Eight newcomers will be vying for the spots that Doc and Fullerton held in Manchester, gunning for the kind of job that can define one's career, battling with the best in the world as the backstop for a team with its country's name on the front of its jersey.

Lets break down the finalists and what they bring to the table.

The Nittany Connection

Austin Kaut

Pennsylvania State University

The only current collegian in the group, Kaut's resume stands tall among his post-college peers even without the pro experience. This spring was his junior year and he just earned first-team All-America honors and the C. Markland Kelly Award as the nation's best goalkeeper after posting a 12-5 record with stopping a tidy 61 percent of the shots he saw (second in the NCAA) and holding a 7.37 goals-against average (third in the NCAA). In the Nittany Lions' NCAA tournament loss to Yale, he only made 14 saves, so clearly the loss is on him (sarcasm).

He's an alum of both PSU and Springfield-Delco H.S. in Pennsylvania. This is relevant...

Drew Adams

New York Lizards (Pennsylvania State University)

Why is Springfield-Delco relevant? Because not only did Drew Adams precede Austin Kaut at Penn State, he preceded him as the goalie for the Cougars. Out of eight goalies, 25 percent of the Team USA tryout pool is from the same high school.

As far as resume, Adams holds the school saves record at Penn State with 694, and has performed well since taking over starting duties for the then-Long Island Lizards in 2010 while his predecessor — Brian Dougherty — was in England. In 2011 and 2012, Adams was named Warrior Goalie of the Year, and he entered the year third all-time in goals against average (11.71).

This season, Adams is performing well for the Lizards despite their elimination from playoff contention, stopping 55 percent of the shots he's seeing (fourth in the league) and leading the league in saves (209).

The Class of 2011

John Galloway

Rochester Rattlers (Syracuse University)

Big-game experience is a big part of Galloway's resume going into the tryouts, after a Syracuse career that saw him start every game of his freshman and sophomore seasons — years that ended with the Orange raising banners in the Carrier Dome. The Orange failed to make finals in the next two seasons, but it was no fault of Galloway's. He was named first-team All-American in and Kelly Award winner in both 2010 and 2011, crazily enough the first time anyone from Syracuse claimed that honor.

As a senior, he was just the second goalie in history to be named a Tewaaraton award finalist (Trevor Tierney was a finalist in 2001). He graduated with the all-time record for wins at Syracuse (59) and minutes played by a goalie (3,776), starting every game over his four year career.

In the MLL, Galloway stepped right into a lead role in Rochester and has performed well, entering the season with the eighth best goals against average in league history (12.89). This year he was third in GAA (11.97) and fifth in saves (52.5 percent) in the league.

But how much stock will the coaches give his championship record for a great Syracuse team?

Adam Ghitelman

Charlotte Hounds (University of Virginia)

Linked from the start of his career with Galloway (the pair were both highly-touted recruits out of New York, with Ghitelman coming from Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island and Galloway from West Genesee upstate), Ghitelman capped his Virginia career by leading the Wahoos to the NCAA championship in 2011, making him the all-time wins leader for the storied program

He served as a back-up to Denver's Jesse Schwartzman in his first MLL season before moving to be the Charlotte Hounds in 2012, where he has been the starter since. After a tough first year — Charlotte went 5-9 in its first season — Ghitelman and the Hounds turned things around, making it into the playoffs and upsetting Denver before falling in the finals to Chesapeake. Ghitelman finished fifth in the league (12.10) in goals-against, but stopped less than 50% of shots (49.7%) on the season. In the semifinals against Denver, he made 17 saves to help take a one-goal win.

The Seasoned Veterans

Jesse Schwartzman

Denver Outlaws (Johns Hopkins University)

A two-time NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player while at Johns Hopkins, Schwartzman backstopped both the 2005 and 2007 championship teams at Homewood, winning one-goal nailbiters in both championship games, holding a powerful Duke team scoreless over the final 27:43 of the 2005 final.

Since joining Major League Lacrosse, his career has continued in excellent fashion, holding the second-best GAA (11.62) in league history and coming in only second behind Dougherty in wins — a mark that he could tie if Denver finishes the season unbeaten and wins the championship. He has yet to have a sub-.500 season in the league, which is due in part to being on some very good Outlaws teams, but is still notable.

He was again excellent in the regular season, notching the second sub-10 GAA season in league history (a record 9.67), a 14-0 record and stopping a league-best 59.7% of the shots he saw for the Outlaws. But Denver fell in the semifinals with Schwartzman giving up 15 goals and notching a sub-50% saves mark against Charlotte (.464).

Jordan Burke

Boston Cannons (Brown University)

A down year in 2013 has seen Burke put up a GAA of 14.82, far off his career pace of 10.93 entering the season, which was good for best all-time in the league. He finished with a 50.4 percent saves mark, behind only Ghitelman for a starting goalkeeper.

But his career numbers were good enough to warrant a look in August, as the 2011 MLL Finals MVP has been one of the best goalies in the game ever since he arrived at Brown University. There, he won the Kelly award in 2009 and was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year for the Bears.

Kip Turner

Chesapeake Bayhawks (University of Virginia)

Turner and Schwartzman have been in the league the longest of any in this group. Turner played for the Cannons from 2007-2011 and with Chesapeake since 2012. He won titles in 2010 (Boston) and Chesapeake (2012, 13), backing up finals MVP Jordan Burke in 2011 and serving as the Bayhawks starter for their run to the Steinfeld Cup in each of the past two seasons.

In the 2012 playoffs he stopped 63 percent of the shots he saw and allowed just six goals against the potent Denver offense in the finals. His 58.3% mark this summer and allowed just 10 goals per game to lead his team once again to the title. On his career, Turner stands 5th in league history with a 12.26 GAA and 8th in save percentage (55%). 

Another NCAA champion, Turner preceded his MLL career by backstopping the Wahoos 2006 NCAA Championship team, voted the team's defensive MVP for the season.

The Wild Card

Brett Queener

Hamilton Nationals (State University of New York at Albany)

Not many goalies find themselves on man-up units in their spare time, but not many goalies are Brett Queener, who has been a fan favorite with his full-field antics since bursting on the scene by scoring a goal for Albany in a win over Johns Hopkins in his first Division I game (after being the National Junior College Player of the Year at Herkimer CC). He has won two MLL titles, one with Rochester as a rookie and another with the Nationals, where he has played since 2008.

A great athlete, Queener relishes the chance to get out of the cage and run the field, having actually played three seasons as a transition player with the NLL's Boston Blazers and Team USA in the 2012 Bowhunter Cup. He's also no slouch between the pipes, leading the league with a 61.4-percent saves mark and standing third with an 11.84 GAA this season. On his career, he stands 6th in GAA (12.75) and fifth (57 percent) in saves.

He has worked frequently as a platoon keeper, winning the titles with Rochester serving as the second-half counterpart to Mike Gabel and only hitting more than 500 minutes once on a season — in 2011. If Meade and Co. are looking for an interesting change of pace goalie, Queener has proven to be outstanding in that role, but it'll be interesting to see if they wish to go in that direction rather than just get two traditional netminders who let the transition guys run the clear.

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