Power Ranking the 2018 Men's Final Four Goalies | Lax Goalie Rat

Power Ranking the 2018 Men’s Final Four Goalies

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re down to just 4 teams for the 2018 Men’s National Lacrosse Championship.

And interestingly enough, it’s the top 4 seeds that remain so I hope you didn’t pick any upsets in your bracket this year.

Other sites have given game previews of #1 Maryland vs. #4 Duke and #2 Albany vs. #3 Yale but here on Lax Goalie Rat we’re going to focus on – you guessed it – the goalies.

Before I jump into my power rankings for the remaining goalies, let’s get one thing clear. Each of these keepers is a stud. You don’t get to this level of the tournament without having a great goalie.

Here are my power rankings for the final four remaining goaltenders.

4. Yale – Jack Starr – Freshman

2018 Stats – Games: 17 (14-3), Goals Against: 135, GAA: 7.94 (8th), Saves: 127, Save Percentage: 48.5% (44th overall)

Yale goalie Jack Starr finished the year 8th in goals-against average and 44th in save percentage.

Here’s Starr’s line for the first two tournament games:

  • Quarterfinal: 9 saves – Yale 8 / Loyola 5
  • First Round: 9 saves – Yale 15 / UMASS 13

Yale’s defense is a top-10 D but the thing is Jack Starr is just a freshman.

And this late in the season that is tough. This game against Albany is no doubt the most important lacrosse game he’s ever played in his life and he’s never faced this level of pressure.

Yale’s defense is solid and doesn’t rely on Starr to bail them out as frequently as other teams need their keeper. But if next Saturday’s game gets to that point the Bulldogs might be trouble.

Save percentage is a flawed metric for evaluating goalie performance but Starr has the lowest of the 4 remaining goalies.

In a matchup about a month ago Albany and Yale faced off in New Haven and the Yale Bulldogs dominated 14-6. In that game, Albany fired a bunch of soft outside shots to start the game.

Any goalie will tell you that’s the best gift in the world. Because the hardest save to make is the first one of the game.

Getting a few early saves settles a goalie’s nerves and jacks up their confidence as it did for Starr on April 22 when he finished the game with 10 saves. That’s going to be crucial to repeat in this semi-final game where Starr’s nerves will be at an all-time high.

But if Albany can net a few early goals I think the confidence of Jack Starr gets lost.

Jack Starr is listed as 6’1″ / 190lbs on the Yale website. But unless he’s standing in front of an absurdly large non-regulation goal in his pics, I think he’s getting the standard program inflation of height and weight. I’d guess he’s more like 5’10”.

But one thing is for sure, never doubt this kid’s hustle:

I believe I can fly! #lacrossegoalie edition

A post shared by Coach Damon (@laxgoalierat) on

I’m excited to follow this freshman’s progression as he gets older.

Jack Starr is my #4 ranked goalie of those that remain.

3. JD Colarusso – Albany – Redshirt Senior

2018 Season Stats – Games: 18, Saves: 174, Saves Per Game: 9.76 (35th), Goals Allowed: 129, Save Percentage: 57.4% (6th)

JD Colarusso is the goalie for the #2 ranked Albany Great Danes and at one point in the 2018 season was leading the league in save percentage. He finished at a very respectable 6th saving 57.4% of shots against him.

Here is his line through the 1st two games of the tournament –

  • Quarterfinal: 7 saves – Albany 15 / Denver 13
  • First Round: 9 saves – Albany 18 / Richmond 9

While Albany’s dominate offense didn’t ask much of Colarusso in game one, the keeper made some great saves in the 4th quarter of the quarterfinal to give Albany the victory.

JD Colarusso stands 5’8″ (my height) so he’s a shorter lacrosse goalie like me and relies on a lot of quickness to make his saves.

He continues Albany’s tradition of strong goaltending including alumni goalies All-American goalies Brett Queener and Blaze Riorden. Colarusso previously backed up Blaze Riorden and learned a ton from watching him game. But he’s now completely out of Blaze’s shadow and owning his moment.

I do think Colarusso has a habit of dropping to his knees on low shots. If you’ve read my blog you know I’m not a fan of that style but especially not for smaller goalies. Dropping to knees just opens the whole top part of the goal on bounce shots on the turf’.

But there’s no question that Colarusso can stop the ball. Check out this save –

Colarusso is a 5th year senior and a 2nd year starter and that experience will serve him well this late in the tournament.

I made a save edit of Syracuse and Albany from earlier in the year where JD played very solid and ended the game with 10 saves.

JD Colarusso is my #3 ranked goalie of those that remain.

2. Duke – Danny Fowler – Senior

2018 Stats: Games: 18, Saves: 155, Saves Per Game Average: 8.61, Goals Against: 133, Save Percentage: 53.8% (16th)

This is Fowler’s 3rd year as a starter for the Duke Blue Devils so he definitely has the most game experience out of any goalie in this group.

He led the ACC in save percentage and goals against average this year and is playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Here’s Fowler’s line through the 1st two games of the tournament:

  • 1st Round: 8 saves / Duke 17 – Villanova 11
  • Quarterfinals: 11 saves / Duke 14 – Johns Hopkins 9

He’s a lefty which for some reason can really throw shooters off if they’re not prepared. Hopefully for Maryland they’ve got a lefty on their roster to practice against. Fowler has good size at 5’11”, 190lbs.

One of the things I love about Fowler’s game is his willingness to get involved outside the crease. Of the Duke games I’ve watched this year it’s not uncommon to see their keeper leaving the crease in pursuit.

This save on 6-4 situation was a huge turning point and goes to show if goalies can a make a big save they’re not supposed to, it can give your team amazing amounts of momentum.

He’s a great ball stopper and leader. Danny Fowler is my #2 ranked goalie of those that remain.

1. Maryland – Dan Morris – Senior

DanMorris

2018 Season Stats – Games: 17, Goals Against: 152, GAA: 8.94, Saves: 171, Save Percentage: 52.9% (21st),

Maryland is another program that’s been blessed with a string of great goalies. After playing behind All-American goalies Nick Amato and Kyle Bernlohr, Dan Morris is finally getting his chance to shine.

And shine he is doing. After winning the 2017 NCAA national championship, Morris is back defending the goal for Terrapins in the semifinals of 2018.

Here is the line of Dan Morris thru 2 games of the tourney:

  • First Round: 13 saves – Maryland 13 / Robert Morris 10
  • Quarterfinals: 8 saves – Maryland 13 / Cornell 8

Robert Morris gave Maryland a little scare in round 1 but Dan Morris (presumably no relation to Robert Morris) stepped it up with 13 big saves.

Morris is a big time player who has already played in the big time games. That type of experience cannot be discounted this late in the season. He’s also a 5th year senior and carries a lot of leadership responsibilities on the team, something you love to see in the goalie.

Morris has exceptionally quick hands and his outlet leading to fast breaks have added another dimension to Maryland’s offense.

Morris is the only goalie of the four remaining who got drafted to play lacrosse at the next level going 50th overall to the New York Lizards.

The best part about Maryland’s game is their offense is so powerful and their defense so good Dan Morris doesn’t need to be exceptional for Maryland to become a national champion, he just needs to be solid.

Dan Morris is my #1 ranked goalie of those that remain.

Conclusion

I’m pretty pumped for final-four weekend and can’t wait to watch these lacrosse games.

Having a good goalie at this time of year is tantamount to a championship and I think each team is pretty set at goalkeeper.

Here’s my predictions: Maryland over Duke, Albany over Yale. Albany wins the national championship.

If it was based purely on goalies I think Maryland has the advantage. But of course lacrosse is a team game and the team that has the most complete offensive, defensive, goalie package will emerge with the national title.

Until next time! Coach Damon

Disagree with my power rankings of the remaining goalies? Let me know down below in the comments. 

6 thoughts on “Power Ranking the 2018 Men’s Final Four Goalies

  1. I agree that Dan Morris is the best among these 4. However, I think that Maryland will play Yale in the big game and will repeat as champs (yay!).

    Yale will have its hands full in the semis with Tehoka Nanticoke and need to shut him down. Also, Connor Fields probably isn’t playing at 100% and will be less of a threat. Yale’s Ben Reeves is a stud and will be hard to defend against.

    Go Terps!

    1. Back to back is hard. Love watching Reeves play. Yale just beat Albany less than a month ago, I think its hard to beat a team twice. Either way can’t wait for this weekend.

  2. Respect your rankings but gotta say I disagree! I’d rank JD #1, Fowler #2, Morris #3 and Starr #4. I think JD is really underrated and due to playing on a team that scores a lot of goals is looked past more often but I’ve watched a few games where he’s bailed Albany out big time. Morris is a great keep but he’s very vanilla to me. Good at clearing and good at shot stopping but he’s not going to steal a game in my eyes. Exeperience is all he really has to me.

  3. Late to the table as I just found this site and read this article.
    Dan Morris is actually related to Robert Morris.
    Robert Morris is his great, great… uncle.

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