Frostburg State’s season opener against Catholic is 16 days away, and that delayed start may actually benefit the team.
That’s because the competition to designate a starting goalkeeper is too close to call. Junior Tyler Haines and freshmen Taylor Schmitz, Mack Schwarz and Tom Kraemer have yet to create any room from the others, making it more interesting – and potentially more difficult – for coach Tommy Pearce and his staff.
“We’ve got three freshman goalies that are good,” he said. “We brought three guys because when Tyler got hurt last year, we think not having him in the cage really, really hurt us. A broken collarbone on a goalie makes you a little concerned about his future. So we brought in three freshman goalies, and we think all of those guys are great. So there’s a pretty huge goalie competition going on right now.”
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Haines, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, was considered to be the frontrunner during the offseason. In 2011, he ranked second in the Capital Athletic Conference with 198 saves, and he had posted a 10.12 goals-against average and a .519 save percentage in six starts last year before breaking the aforementioned collarbone last season.
Pearce acknowledged that Haines’ experience could give him an edge.
“We haven’t been outside to clear the ball against a pressure ride or anything like that,” Pearce said. “So we don’t really know – aside from what we’ve seen in the fall – how these freshmen will handle those situations. We’ve seen Tyler do that a little bit, and now we need to see if these young guys can do that.”
Alex Sharrer is not in the mix. He registered a 11.80 goals-against average and a .453 save percentage in 10 starts as a sophomore after replacing Haines, but Sharrer opted not to return this spring.
While the evaluations continue, Pearce said he hasn’t given any thought to possibly using a rotation in the cage.
“At this point, we’re just considering how much to critique the goalies,” he said. “We haven’t even gotten that far.”