Just two days away from its season opener against No. 6 Duke, No. 10 Denver still isn’t sure which goalkeeper to start Saturday.
The competition has boiled down to junior Jamie Faus and sophomore Ryan LaPlante, and coach Bill Tierney said he’s contemplating giving playing time to both goalies over the next two or three weeks.
“Everybody will tell you that you’ve got to develop your starting quarterback, that you’ve got to develop your point guard, and in this sport, you can only have one goalie. But I just don’t know if that’s the case,” Tierney said Thursday. “If the guy was second-best at any other position [such as attack, midfield and close defense], he’d be a starter. You’re going to put a guy on the bench for the whole season just because he happens to be one step behind the other guy? I think we’ve got to find a way to play them both, and whether that’s both in a game, alternating games, or having one come out like a relief pitcher, that remains to be seen. The bottom line is, it’s going to come down to how they perform in games.”
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Faus was the primary starter in 2011 when the Pioneers reached the NCAA tournament semifinals for the first time in school history. He registered an 8.17 goals-against average and a .524 save percentage in five starts last season before suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
Faus’ season-ending injury opened the door for LaPlante, who posted a 9.93 goals-against average and a .535 save percentage in 11 starts and helped Denver reach the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
Tierney said the coaches will “go with our gut” in determining Saturday’s starter. But he said that he’s not unhappy about having two talented goaltenders on the roster.
“Some people look at it as a problem. I look at it as a great opportunity,” Tierney said. “I haven’t had these types of goalies in a long, long time. I don’t want to skip over anybody, but we had some really good combinations in the past like when Trevor was a sophomore and Corey Popham was a senior. We had a hell of a combination there at Princeton in 1999. You have these things and you can’t bemoan them.”