I was watching the 2021 national championship game on my computer. As Virginia and Maryland took the field with 10 seconds left, there was tension in the crowd and tension in my kitchen as I paced around.
The Cavaliers were up by a goal and all they had to do to win their 2nd consecutive national championship was essentially NOT get smoked for a fast break off the faceoff. Any tie up or battle for a loose ball would eat up too much clock to advance down the field and get a shot off.
Whistle blows – Maryland guy smokes him for a fast break and is charging full head of steam towards the goal. Unbelievable!
With one shot he could have been a hero in College Park. The guy who brought the Terrapins back from the dead with only 10 seconds left. Surely they would have rode that momentum to an overtime victory and a national championship.
But there was Alex Rode.
Alex Rode made the save. I let out a gasp when the UVa guy got smoked off the faceoff for a face break but when Rode made the final save I erupted. Unbelievable.
Was it a bad shot? Probably. Does it matter? No.
A walk off save for a national championship win! Does it get better than that? Ok maybe it does – your 2nd consecutive national championship! On perhaps the last meaningful lacrosse game you’ll ever play.
My guest for episode 119 is Virginia goalie Alex Rode.
“One of a kind … one of the best ever to play in goal in Charlottesville” said UVa Coach Lars Tiffany.
And that’s saying something because while at UVA, Alex received coaching and mentoring from another goalie great Kip Turner.
Lars wasn’t the original coach that recruited Alex to UVA so that’s an interesting story we dig into.
We talk about Alex’s experience growing up in the Baltimore area and learning to play this position of goalie we love so much at such a young age.
All the decisions and hard work he put in to eventually get that spot where he made the final save of the 2021 national championship game, the final save of his collegiate career. I share my screen and we talk through that final save.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.