It’s an intriguing matchup between different styles, according to ESPN analyst Mark Dixon.
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Dixon, a former Johns Hopkins midfielder, said both goalies bear similar traits to previous players at their position.
“Pierce Bassett, if I had to make a comparison, reminds me a lot of Tom Palesky from Army,” Dixon said of the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Bassett and the 6-4, 199-pound Palesky. “Just his size and the way he gets down on shots. Amato reminds me a lot of Brian Phipps, who was his predecessor at Maryland [and the team’s current volunteer assistant]. They both have those real deep bags on their sticks, they tend to come off the pipe a little too early when guys are coming around the cage, but they also are very efficient in their motions and they’re both kind of heels-on-the-goalline netminders who can make incredible saves.”
Dixon said Amato’s breakout game of the season occurred March 3 when he made 14 saves to help the Terps cement a 10-7 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Duke.
“That was a game where [Blue Devils senior long-stick midfielder C.J.] Costabile was dominating the faceoffs, and I think Niko made nine saves in the fourth quarter of that game to really seal the deal,” Dixon recalled. “So I think when you look at a goalie and ask, ‘Has either goalie won or lost a game for this team this season?’, I think you have to point the needle towards Niko Amato as winning some games for Maryland.”
Dixon said Bassett’s best performance came March 2 when he made nine stops – including six in the second half – to propel the Blue Jays to a 10-8 win.
“If you want to go back to the Princeton game for Johns Hopkins, that’s a game where Hopkins hadn’t beaten Princeton for three straight games, and [Tigers senior goalkeeper] Tyler Fiorito had never lost to Hopkins,” Dixon said. “But Bassett outplayed Fiorito in that game big time and made some remarkable saves – a couple of foot stops and saves that he really had no business getting to. So it’s not to say that Bassett hasn’t had an incredible effort this year.”