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Syracuse Goalie Matt Lerman Tells Fizz He Deserves to Win Starting Job

Dick Blume/Syracuse.com

For the 2012 SU lax team, deciding who will fill the void in goal left by John Galloway has proven to be extremely difficult. The Orange opened the season this weekend with a 12-7 win over Albany and prepares to host Army next. But, Syracuse still hasn’t decided who will be the regular starting goaltender. Against the Great Danes, John Desko didn’t provide any insight into the battle. Redshirt sophomore Matt Lerman played the first half, sophomore Dom Lamolinara the second. Orange fans left the Carrier Dome wondering the same thing they did upon arriving: who will be the safety net for this young defense?

Before the Albany game Lerman convincingly The Fizz he deserved the nod.

“Yeah. I do [deserve the start]. I definitely think I do. It’s been a long two years learning and it was a good fall. I’ve proven myself as a starter and I’m ready to get out there and help this team win. And I’m ready to show everyone that I’m not just John Galloway’s replacement, that I’m the starting goalie for SU lacrosse.”

You have to appreciate Lerman’s patience. He has waited in the wings behind one of the all-time great SU goalies, and is ready to step up and have a statement season.  Lerman learned a very important lesson from Galloway: the importance of clearing the ball. It was a JG trademark and is an advantage Matt has over Lamolinara. He says the permanent starting job would be a huge step for him.

“It would mean the world. This is my life. It’s been a long time that I’ve been preparing to play in college. It’s finally time to get out there and show everyone that I’m more than capable.”

Lerman certainly made his time in goal against Albany count. He made 6 saves and cleared the ball successfully 11 times out of 12.

But Lamolinara is making his case as well. The Maryland transfer outperformed Lerman in an exhibition matchup against his old team, notching 5 saves to Lerman’s 3. DL also allowing only 3 goals, while Lerman let up 6. Against Albany, the true sophomore was solid again. He made 10 saves and went 12-for-14 clearing the ball.  The one criticism would be his fourth quarter. Lamolinara allowed 5 late goals.  Regardless of the shaky ending, Lamolinara says this weekend will probably decide the race.

“I think I definitely raised a couple of questions. I don’t think it’s settled yet. Lerm played great. I think this game against Army is really going to settle it. Coach is going to make the right decision, and whatever that is, I’m going to go with it.”

Though he’s humble in the press room, Lamolinara certainly lays it all out in the crease. The slew of goals he was responsible for in the final minutes against the Danes is hardly representative of his overall performance. Of his 10 saves, many were incredibly skilled moves on high-speed shots going to tough parts of the net. He’s got what it takes to start, and that’s why Desko still hasn’t named a permanent solution in the lineup.

“We’ve been seeing what we’ve been seeing. We’ve got two goaltenders. Today, Matt [Lerman] warmed up pretty well and was ready, but Dom [Lamolinara] was pretty cool in the second half, had some good saves. So, we’re happy that we’ve got a couple of guys to choose from.”

Since there’s no hard answer out of the coaching staff, The Fizz turned to teammates. Defensive powerhouse Brian Megill says he’s optimistic about the future of the goalie situation, whatever the outcome is.

“All of those guys are great leaders. They do a great job talking, we can hear them, and we’ve got to do a great job talking back to them, and keeping them going.”

Though the defense relies on the goalie for leadership in games, Lamolinara is comfortable and says the defenders aren’t shaken by the uncertainty of not knowing who will be in net.

“I don’t think it’s that unsettling. They knew going into this year that they were going to have a new goalie. John Galloway was here for four years. These guys had to know that it was going to be a little different. It’s especially new with me. Whatever I don’t know, they’ve been teaching me.”

If four exhibition games and the season opener aren’t conclusive enough to tell the coaches who should start in goal, we at least know it’s a two-horse race. After the loss of Galloway, the position was uncertain. The Orange brought seven possible starters to the practice field. After a week, it’s been chiseled down to two: Lerman or Lamolinara.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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