ESPN's Dixon compares Johns Hopkins' Bassett, Maryland's Amato

Saturday’s edition of The Sun will include a profile on Johns Hopkins junior Pierce Bassett and Maryland redshirt sophomore Niko Amato, the starting goalkeepers for Saturday evening’s battle between the state powerhouses.

It’s an intriguing matchup between different styles, according to ESPN analyst Mark Dixon.

“Bassett is more of a Steady Eddie,” Dixon said. “He’s very consistent. … I think Amato is a little flashier in terms of his streaks. There are times when he looks like a brick wall and nothing gets by him, and then there are times when he lets in soft goals. I think Bassett is the more consistent of the two.”

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.”

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