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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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About Coach Damon
About Coach Damon
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.