Deep South Lacrosse CL18 Goalie Head Review | Lax Goalie Rat

Deep South Lacrosse CL18 Goalie Head Review

When you watch goalies back in the 70’s, 80’s and even the 90’s there’s one prevalent theme to their game.

These guys were not afraid to the leave the crease.

Guys like Jim Beardmore and Quint Kessenich were the Brett Queeners of their time. Single man clear machines not afraid to stick handle, juke a defender, and cross over onto the attack side of the field as an offensive threat.

Another goalie who played in that style was the University of Maryland’s Richard Shassian.

In addition to being a goalie, Shassian (Coach Sash) is also an entrepreneur and in 2018 he purchased Deep South Lacrosse located in the Orlando, FL area.

After being an idea living in his head for more than 15 years, in 2018 Coach Sash through his company Deep South Lacrosse released his invention the CL18 goalie head.

In this post I’ll do a review of the CL18 goalie head.

CL18 Goalie Head Background

Rich Shassian grew up being coached by guys like Coach Buddy Beardmore and Coach Linehan.

These coaches were all about athleticism in their goalies and a belief that the offense starts when a goalie makes the save. Two things that I preach as well.

Coach Sash embodied that style in his play and wanted to create a goalie head that gave netminders the same ball handling control that the field players had.

Enter the CL18.

CL stands for Coach Linehan, a strong influence in Shassian’s life. 18 is for 2018, the year the head was launched.

The head is approved by US Men’s lacrosse. However the CL18 is currently NOT legal for Women’s lacrosse.

Let’s get into the review.

CL18 Face Shape

When you look at previous goalie heads prior to the CL18, there are essentially 2 different face shapes.

There’s the triangle, seen in much older heads like this original STX and then a modified triangle like the STX Goalmaster:

Then there are the spoons, seen in more modern goalie heads like the STX Eclipse and the STX Eclipse 2:

There are variations to the spoon but they all have those rounded edges.

The spoon design is so common today that most goalies don’t think twice about it. But goalies back in the early 90’s sure looked at the STX Eclipse weirdly when it first came out due its new face design.

The CL18 goalie head takes a different approach to the face shape. Like when the spoon dropped, the CL18 definitely turned some heads, including mine when it started popping up on my Instagram feed.

Instead of the triangle or spoon design, the face shape is that of a field player head. Enlarged of course.

In fact, the CL18 head resembles an enlarged Brine Edge (far left – my 1st head when I was a middie) or a Warrior Patriot (middle). Side by side with the CL18 (right) scaled down the similarity is blatantly clear.

When I first saw the CL18 appear in photos in my Instagram it was hard to gauge the size because it looks just like a field head.

But rest assured for us goalies, the CL18 does have (nearly) the same surface area as an STX Eclipse 2. It’s just that the area is distributed differently.

For the purposes of this review I’ll be comparing the CL18 a lot against the STX Eclipse 2 which, while there are lots of great options, to me is the standard in goalie heads right now.

Compared to the Eclipse 2, the CL18 has less surface area on the sides but has a tiny bit more towards the top and the bottom by the throat.

Here are a few pics of the CL18 overlapped with the Eclipse 2 so you see what I’m talking about. The green arrows show where the CL18 gets you a little more surface area and the red arrows show where it gives you less.

Measuring from the top to the bottom of the face, the CL18 and STX Eclipse 2 are nearly identical in height.

As you can see in this show below, the sidewalls of the CL18 are flared outwards. Meaning shots get funneled into to the stick’s pocket, which is a great feature for goalie heads to have. There is definitely more flare on the CL18 vs. the Eclipse 2.

CL18 Stick Handling

I started my career playing middie and when I switched over to goalie learning how to cradle with that big head took some work.

It’s not the same. My teammates would ask me all the time – how do you cradle with that thing?

With the STX Eclipse 2 (and the predecessor) the ball rolls around in the spoon design and you really need to get it settled in the pocket before you attempt to outlet.

I remember after my very first save as an inexperienced goalie the ball wasn’t fully settled in my STX Eclipse and when I went to throw an outlet pass I chucked it right out of bounds.

You’ll often see goalies on a save do a little move just to get the ball settled in the pocket.

Even when a goalie leaves the crease on foot, slow motion video of their cradling shows the ball really rolls around quite a bit in that pocket.

What Coach Sash wanted was a goalie head that had the control of field player head. And that’s what you get with the CL18.

When you start cradling with the CL18 you’ll notice the control and outlet ability is really nice. The face shape keeps the ball in the sweet spot of the pocket even as you aggressively cradle in a full sprint up the field.

The CL18 is the best stick handling goalie head out there. Without a doubt.

CL18 Stiffness

If you’ve ever seen a still photo of the lacrosse goalie head when a shot makes contact, it’s bizarre.

The speed of the shot and hardness of that rubber ball warps the plastic bad.

At the moment of impact the head tends to bend. And bend hard.

With softer, more flexible heads it might bend so much it results in the ultimate sin, getting a piece of the shot and still having it go into the goal.

Hands down, the CL18 is the stiffest head out there. This thing is solid.

I’ve been playing with the STX Eclipse 2 as the gamer for a long time and I loved the stiffness of that head.

The CL18 is even stiffer.

I’m not really sure what metric you’re supposed to use to judge stiffness but I’ll give the CL18 5 stiffness stars out of 5.

CL18 Weight

Of course when you make a head as stiff as the CL18 it comes with some drawbacks and the main one is weight.

The CL18 is a heavy head.

I received my head already strung up so I couldn’t get a weight check without a stringing. I don’t see any specs on the CL18 site but according to ECD Greg (his review is at the bottom of this post) the head weighs in at 12.2 ounces (unstrung) although I thought it was heavier.

Here’s a comparison to the Eclipse 2 unstrung:

  • CL18 – 12.2 oz (345 grams)
  • STX Eclipse II – 11.6 oz (329 grams)

Strung up with mesh (which of course isn’t an apples to apples comparison) looks like this:

CL18vsEclipse2Weight

The CL18 has 17 diamond mesh which is heavier than the 12 diamond mesh you see in the Eclipse 2, so like I said not a straight apples to apples comparison but the weights are:

  • 19.36 oz for the CL18
  • 15.66 oz for the STX Eclipse 2

Nearly 4oz is a lot. Anyone who has a baseball background knows the difference between a 32oz bat and a 28oz is pretty significant. Same goes for goalie heads.

I haven’t played with the CL18 enough to test its durability but you have to imagine that with the stiffness and weight it carries, it’s going to extremely durable.

I mean the CL18 is just a solid piece of machinery. But a negative of the CL18 is definitely its heavy weight.

In future iterations of this goalie head I imagine Coach Sash will look to trim off some excess weight while trying to keep the stiffness and durability as in tact as possible.

CL18 Throat Design

For those goalies out there who like to setup with their top hand ON the plastic, I got some bad news for you.

The throat of the CL18 is like the STX Eclipse original in that its big and bulky. You cannot comfortably grip the plastic of the CL18.

When I setup in my stance, I prefer to have my top hand TOUCHING the plastic (#2 in the image above) thus it doesn’t really impact my setup.

However I know tons of goalies, at all levels, who prefer option 1 and if that’s you, I wouldn’t recommend the CL18 as you cannot comfortable grip the plastic without making your hand really wide.

You can really see the difference in throat design in this pic:

I think making the next iteration of the CL18 have a throat just like the STX Eclipse 2 would be a huge win.

CL18 Scoop 

One nice design spec on the CL18 is the scoop. As Coach Sash told me he really wanted to make a goalie head that could help goalies win ground balls outside of the crease.

As a result, the scoop is angled at a 45 making ground ball pickup easier. Here you can see the straight across and angled scoop design compared to the more circular and rounded STX scoop.

CL18 Price

 One of the best things about the CL18 goalie head is its price.

Coach Sash is all about making lacrosse affordable and it shows with the price point he’s got on the CL18.

Unstrung, the CL18 retails for. $49.99. Click here to buy.

For reference, the STX Eclipse 2 for $99.99.

You can get two CL18’s for the price of one STX Eclipse 2. That’s insane.

In our podcast together I asked Coach Sash why other goalie heads are going for twice as much. He said that topic was “walking on dangerous ground” and didn’t go into much detail but the word ‘conspiracy’ was used. I’ll leave it there.

The sport is too expensive in the mind of Coach Sash (and I agree) and at Deep South they’re doing their best to make the sport more affordable.

Well done Coach. At just $49 it’s worth picking up a CL18 just to try it out.

Click here to go to Deep South lacrosse website to buy

CL18 Stick Stringing

 Sometimes you’ll find a stick stringer who can throw in a killer pocket into an attack head but doesn’t know how to twist up goalie heads.

That’s because with the spoon design, stringing up goalie heads is a unique skillset.

With the field head player shape, you’ll find that stringing up the CL18 is much closer to stringing up a field head.

The same approach that works for a field head works for the CL18 and thus its easier to string up really pockets into the CL18.

Pockets that will throw dimes for outlets, keep solid control while cradling, give you solid rebound control, and not bag out over time.

I’m no stick stringing ninja so I asked 2 folks who definitely are: Mr. Wanderful (aka Tommy) and Redbeard (aka Travis) about their opinion on stringing up the CL18.

Tommy said it was no problem to string up the CL18 as it gives you lots of holes options.

Travis said it was a little trickier and recommend those just learning how to string goalie heads don’t learn on the CL18 due to its unique configuration.

As Travis points out in his IG post, you don’t need to use a V or a U in the CL18 pocket. It’s not needed as the the shape of the head gives way to a natural channel.

CL18 Super Hero Design

Deep South partnered up with Wraith Lacrosse to create an awesome set of limited edition super hero themed goalie heads.

Spiderman, Superman, Black Panther, Deadpool, Ironman. Who wouldn’t want to go into battle with one of these sweet looking wands?

Here are the CL18 Super Hero goalie heads that we gave away during the Lacrosse Goalie Summit 3. Deep South was a sponsor of the event and donated the Iron Man and Riddler goalie heads as giveaways.

Other Reviews of the CL18 Goalie Head

Here is my video review of the CL18 goalie head:

Here is ECD Greg giving his review of the CL18 goalie head:

Conclusion

Coach Sash will be the first one to tell you the CL18 goalie head isn’t for everyone.

It’s heavier weight and redistributed surface area might be a turn off for some goalies.

But for the active goalie who really wants superb ball control and outlet passes, the CL18 is right up your alley.

Also goalies looking for the stiffest head on the market to reduce the flex need to look no further than the CL18.

At $49 you can’t beat this price point and thus (assuming your young goalie can handle the extra 5oz of weight) it can be a great head for those starting out.

Overall the CL18 is a revolutionary head both in terms of its unique face shape and it’s super low price point and for the right goalie this is definitely a recommend head.

Pros

  • Stick handling
  • Stiffness
  • Price
  • More top and bottom surface area

Cons –

  • Weight
  • Throat design
  • Less side surface area

What I love about Coach Sash is he’s taking all the feedback to heart and I cannot wait to see the CL22, the next iteration of this goalie head.

Anyone out there used the CL18 goalie head yet? What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment down below. 

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2 thoughts on “Deep South Lacrosse CL18 Goalie Head Review

  1. Great review. Really covered all aspects of this head. It seems that two main issues need to be addressed: (1) fixing the throat. This is even a bigger issue than weight, IMO. Goalies who I coach at the Youth level generally prefer to have their hands on the throat, and this head, while great in most other ways, denies that ability; and (2) the weight.

    This said, at its price point, I may get one and see if the goalies change their stick gripping for the other benefits of this head. What attack length shaft would you recommend pairing with it to ensure a good weight distribution?

    1. Thanks Ryan! Throat and weight are definitely 2 issues that need to be changed. I’ve spoken with Rich Shassian and he’s well award and even showed me some prototypes of the CL22 with a modified grippable throat. I haven’t tried this head with too many shafts. I put an older (heavier) alloy shaft on there and it seemed to balance pretty weell.

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