By far one of the most intriguing positions in any sport that I have covered this season is the goaltender position in lacrosse.
Having felt the hard, unforgiving makeup of a lacrosse ball coupled with the speed and power of a shot, I could not fathom the idea of attempting to play goalie.
The sheer willpower and determination to put your body on the line was something that I could not understand – that is until I spoke with local Owatonna High School goaltenders Zoe Anderson and Korban Stricklin.
“A lot of it is a mental game. If you can’t get the right mentality in net, then you’re not going to succeed. You’re going to get bumps and bruises, you have to expect that. But if you’re not right mentally, you’re going to suffer out there, and then it’s not fun at all,” said Anderson.
Both Anderson and Stricklin mentioned that when the ball is coming at them, there is no place for fear as the only objection has to be to stop the ball.
“The first thing I think of when I see the opposing team shoot on me is determining whether the shot will be high or low. Then I think about where my body needs to be in the situation,” said Stricklin.
Anderson event went as far as saying that she tries not to think when the shot comes on net, and instead relies solely upon her instincts and training to stop the shot.
If one thing is consistent among both of Owatonna’s goalies it’s that equipment is actually not the friend, but the enemy of the goalie.
Both Anderson and Stricklin try to wear as little protection as possible on the field as both believe it hinders their ability to move and cover the net quickly.
While both are required to wear helmets, neck guards, padded gloves and chest protectors, Stricklin wears nothing more than a cup while Anderson only adds on the required thigh pads for girls lacrosse and optional shin pads.
This means that for Stricklin, any potential shot to the legs or arms could have the potential to be quite painful.
However, both goalies have been fortunate over the course of their careers to not have any major injuries, and surprisingly both credited their worst injuries to shots taken to their thumbs.
Yet, if you asked both goalkeepers why they continue to play the position and love doing so, they would both give you one consistent answer: its leadership position.
Both goaltenders pride themselves on being students of the game and being the “backbone” of their teams when the games get close.
According to Anderson, there is no better feeling than holding down the crease in a tight game and keeping the team in the game when the opposing team begins to find holes in the defense.
Anderson has seen a great deal of success in doing so this season as her save percentage of 65.5% is the second-highest amongst goaltenders with 10 or more games played in the entire state.
The senior credits her extra work behind the scenes, as well as her teammates pushing her in practice for her continued success.
In fact, the senior will be taking her talents to Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio next season to continue her career.
Next time you go out to the field to watch the Huskies boys and girls teams, make sure to give our local brave goaltenders an extra cheer for stepping up and putting their bodies on the line to help their squads bring home electric wins.