Many lacrosse coaches in the country would love the "problem" of having two talented enough goalkeepers to start in net. That's the case for Syracuse Head Coach John Desko, who in the last three games, has come up with what looks to be an ample solution:
Just play them both.
"A lot of teams, when they use two goalies, they're trying to figure out which one's better," Desko said. "We know we've got two good ones that deserve to play."?
Though Desko believes he has it figured out now, at the beginning of the season, there appeared to be no concrete plan. Dominic Lamolinara would start (as he has in every game this season), but he would usually be pulled at some point for junior Bobby Wardwell.
In some games, Lamolinara would check out after giving up too many goals. In others, he would come out regardless of playing well. No matter what the reason, a full game for Lamolinara was rare. In fact, he's only played in one full game this entire season—a 12-10 win against Johns Hopkins.
First 6 games- Playing Time
But while rather erratic, the philosophy seemed to be working. A 4-2 record wasn't where the Orange wanted to be, but it wasn't bad.
Then, there was a wakeup call. The next opponent for Syracuse after Johns Hopkins was Duke, and when the Blue Devils exploded for 13 goals in the first half, as expected, Lamolinara was replaced with Wardwell. Syracuse would go onto lose, 21-7, but even in that terrible defeat, the one silver lining was that Desko discovered that Wardwell deserved real, meaningful time.
"One of the positives we took out of it was that Bob played really well in the 2nd half," he would later say.
Computed before Saturday's game vs UNC
In a terrible loss, a structure was born. And now, the two goalkeepers who just want to play love the fact that they have strung together three important wins in a row.
On the field, Lamolinara calls his relationship with Wardwell a "competitive friendship." But off the field, they are simply friends.
"We hang out a lot," Wardwell said of Lamolinara. "[We] watch TV, watch movies and stuff like that. I'd say we're really good friends."
When Lamolinara is in, Wardwell is the first to greet him during a play stoppage. When Wardwell is in, Lamolinara is the loudest cheerer on the sideline.
"I've been saying this for the past two or three years—I just want to win games," Lamolinara, who transferred to Syracuse his sophomore year, said after the win against Cornell. "My time at Maryland kind of made me feel like I was never going to [play] anyway, so, I'm looking at it as one-half is more than I ever expected to get in the first place."
And while Coach Desko admits that if Lamolinara "stood on his head," he would stay in the game at half, it would be difficult to break away from what has worked in the past three games.
But hey, it's a good "problem" to have.