The original Eclipse launched around 1999. The Eclipse 2 launched 18 years later in 2017. And now we only needed to wait a short 6 years for the latest model.
In this post we’ll review the brand new STX Eclipse 3 goalie head.
Helping me with this Eclipse 3 goalie head review is recent Johns Hopkins grad Gib Versfeld (@goaliebygib) who was able to use the STX Eclipse 3 at Hopkins (he’s the goalie in the pic above) before it was even available for sale.
STX Eclipse 3 Goalie Head: New Throat
One of the main visual differences in the newest model is the redesigned throat.
Lacrosse companies now realize that goalies (not all) like to grip the throat of the plastic in their top hand setup. So having a extremely sleek and comfortable throat piece is absolute must.
The throat on the STX Eclipse 3 is much sleeker.
The slimmed down throat becomes even more apparent when you look at the back view. On the new STX Eclipse 3 there is almost enough room to tuck your thumb behind the plastic instead of exposing it to get nailed by shots.
Gib said he played around with this approach and liked it.
One thing worth mentioning is the front of the throat of the Eclipse 3 (unlike the Eclipse 2) has a little protruding nub of plastic. You can rest your pointer finger (or middle finger if you grip really high) on there. I personally find this extremely comfortable.
Overall, the new throat on the Eclipse 3 is an upgrade. It’s extremely sleek like the throat on the ECD Impact.
And for those goalies who grip the plastic in their top hand setup you’re going to love the feel and performance of the new Eclipse 3 throat.
STX Eclipse 3: Increased Stiffness
When you talk about ideal goalie heads, you want your wand to be as stiff as possible while at the same time as light as possible.
The last thing us goalies want is to get a solid piece of the shot only to have our rubber biscuit of a head fold and the ball still go in the goal. Like my poor guy here:
With the STX Eclipse 2 version, the head took a massive step in the right direction of stiffness. They continue that trend with the release of the STX Eclipse 3.
On the STX website they say the Eclipse 3 has 30% higher stiffness than the previous model.
I haven’t done of any scientific stiffness tests but playing around with this head and taking shots, I can say its stiffness is improved over its predecessor.
However, I’m not taking D1 or pro caliber shots so I reached out to some goalies I’ve had on the podcast for their thoughts on this new head.
Here’s what one D1 goalie had to say about the new Eclipse 3 before it was released:
Here’s what Gib himself had to say:
I’ve never had any flexing with the Eclipse 3. I’ve used it for several months facing high level D1 shots and it has stayed better firm. Even in the heat.
Finally here is what PLL Whipsnakes goalie Brendan Krebs had to say:
All heads will start to flex over time. I mean they are made out of plastic which will deteriorate with seasons of high speed pounding but all signs point to the Eclipse 3 being the stiffest on the market at the time of this writing.
The increased stiffness in the Eclipse 3 is very apparent. Something they were able to achieve with a different plastic they’re calling EnduraForm plus the improved top scoop which I’ll discuss later on.
STX Eclipse 3: Weight
Now it would be easy to make an extremely stiff head but have it weigh a ton (the CL18 goalie head falls into this category). There lies the challenge for lacrosse companies, increase the stiffness while reducing the weight.
I’m not sure what the official unstrung weight is but I tossed my strung up Eclipse 3 on the kitchen scale and compared it to the Eclipse 2.
Obviously we’re not comparing apples to apples here. My Eclipse 2 has STX Memory Mesh and 2 shooters while the Eclipse 3 has the brand new STX Eclipse 11 diamond mesh in there and no shooting strings (ghost pocket) but as is – its lighter.
The STX Eclipse 3 weighed in 426 grams while the STX Eclipse 2 was 449 grams. So no extra weight was added to this head and when comparing my 2 specific setups, the Eclipse 3 was lighter by 23 grams.
For comparison the ECD Impact weighed in at 407 grams.
STX is using a new plastic for this head called EnduraForm which likely accounts for the same weight with increased stiffness.
One of the ways they may have removed weight is the sidewalls. You can see the Eclipse 2 on top vs. the Eclipse 3 on the bottom with a little less material.
I was surprised PLL goalie Branden Krebs mentioned the heavier weight because to be honest upon picking it up I didn’t notice extra weight and Gib told me the same.
My kitchen scale even confirmed the same, it was in fact lighter than my Eclipse 2 setup but definitely not lighter than the ECD Impact.
STX Eclipse 3: Improved Scoop
One final upgrade on the STX Eclipse 3 design is the top scoop.
As Gib pointed out to me, the top scoop is angled forward more. Here you can see the more extreme forward angle on the Eclipse 3 (bottom):
The idea here is shots hitting the top part of the plastic are funneled into the pocket. You can also scoop ground balls out of grass a lot easier with this different profile.
Here’s what Gib had to say: “Just directionally if the ball hits the top of the plastic, I think its gonna go into the stick more versus rolling off the top”.
Gib did mention this new angled top part changed the throwing of the stick a little. That’s a comment I’ve seen echo’d from other goalies too:
But with today’s pro stringers they’ll be able to give you a pocket where the ball clicks the plastic on the release, or not, depending on your personal preference.
With the increased top stiffness and angled scoop, it was one goalie’s opinion that those using the Eclipse 3 in collegiate lacrosse should see an uptick in their save percentage:
STX Eclipse 3 Similarities
While we’ve just discussed the upgrades that went into this new goalie head, there are a few things that remain unchanged.
The first is the face shape which remains unchanged in the STX Eclipse 3 (right):
As mentioned earlier in this article the Eclipse 3 top scoop is angled forward more however the overall face shape remains unchanged.
The stringing holes are exactly the same as well. 17 sidewall holes, 6 bottom string holes and 7 holes along the top for the top string.
The holes are also the same size with the same locations. So any stringing pattern that worked in the STX Eclipse 2 is going to in the new Eclipse 3.
After speaking with pro stringers there are some things you have to do differently in the Eclipse 3 pocket due to the more severe angled top scoop, assuming you don’t want the ball to click off the plastic on the release.
The STX Eclipse 3 profile still has the classic Eclipse offset. Meaning looking at the side view the top of the Eclipse 3 finishes well behind where the throat starts.
The ECD Impact for example is much more straight up and down.
A final similarity is the Eclipse 3 comes with an embedded ball stop. I’m not going to call it an upgrade but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out this sweet chrome III ball stop in the new model:
Those are the similarities they’ve kept in the new STX Eclipse 3 design.
STX Eclipse 3 Price
The brand new STX Eclipse 3 head unstrung is going to cost you $120.
Lots of goalies emailed me wanting me to compare the ECD Impact to the new STX Eclipse 3 so that’s what we’ll do in this section.
The main difference is face shape and weight. The Eclipse 3 top to bottom is much bigger (well about 2cm bigger) than the ECD Impact.
While width wise (left to right) the ECD Impact is wider. ECD is about 33cm while the Eclipse 3 a little over 31cm at its widest point.
As noted above in the weight section, I don’t have the unstrung weights to compare but I threw the strung up versions onto my kitchen scale.
The ECD Impact weight 407 grams while the STX Eclipse 3 was 426 grams. My ECD Impact even has 2 shooting strings so its substantially lighter.
The ECD Impact wins the price battle by $10. The STX Eclipse 3 is $120 while the ECD Impact is $110.
Both have a great deal of stiffness although based on feedback from D1 goalies, I’d give the edge to the Eclipse 3.
Bottom line is, both are amazing goalie heads used by the top level athletes in our sport and I don’t think you can go wrong with either.
Due to its lighter weight I tend to recommend the ECD Impact to the younger goalies and the Eclipse 3 to the high school and up goalies.
Is it worth upgrading to the STX Eclipse 3?
So let’s say you’re a proud goalie owner of a beautiful STX Eclipse 2. It’s worked well for you. It’s old reliable and you feel confident pulling that wand out to face shots day in and day out.
Should you upgrade to the STX Eclipse 3?
That’s the exact question I posed to Gib and here’s what he said:
Ultimately, I think the stiffness makes it worth the upgrade. You use a head. You get comfortable with it. You spend a lot of time breaking it in with the mesh. You see shots and the worst thing that can happen is it starts flexing on you in the worst moments. This head stays true to form. For me that’s worth the upgrade.
Those who have played with the Eclipse 3 all comment that this head holds its stiffness better than anything they’ve used so far. So if you’re wanting the stiffest head on the market, it is worth the upgrade.
Even if you don’t have the funds now (good thing because the Eclipse 3 is sold out everywhere as I write this), there will come a time when you need to replace your STX Eclipse 2 and I would recommend you do so with the new STX Eclipse 3.
STX Eclipse 3 Video Review
Here is the video of Gib and myself discussing the new STX Eclipse 3 goalie head:
STX Eclipse 3 Stringing Tutorial
Looking for a tutorial on how to string up your new STX Eclipse 3? Here’s an awesome one from Lars the Sidewall Jedi himself:
The Sidewall Jedi actually strung up this beauty that I have right now:
With the brand new STX Eclipse 3 goalie head the iconic model gets an upgrade in the throat design, the stiffness, and the top scoop.
The increased stiffness is probably this head’s main draw and they did that upgrade without increasing the weight thanks to a brand new plastic.
Unfortunately, due to supply issues (I heard they only printed 500 heads) and the cult like Eclipse following snatched those up quick. So at the time of this writing this goalie head is all sold out.
But it will be back in stock in due time and when that time comes I recommend goalies jump on this model.
If the Eclipse 2 was your head of choice, you’re gonna love the STX Eclipse 3.
Here’s what Hopkins goalie (recent alum) Gib Versfeld said in summary: “I think you can’t go wrong with the Eclipse 3. It’s stiff. It’s reliable. As a goalie there’s not much more you can ask for you. Give it a try.”
Until next time, Coach Damon
P.S. Anything missing from this STX Eclipse 3 goalie head review? Have you used the STX Eclipse 3 yet? Leave me a comment down below.
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.
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