Goucher’s search for a fresh face at goalkeeper for the first time in three years has been completed.

Junior Karl Wiszumerski will make his first collegiate start in the net when the Gophers open the season at No. 9 Washington College on Saturday. Wiszumerski beat out sophomore Stefan Schultz and freshman Peter Hayes for the honor, coach Brian Kelly announced Friday morning.

“Karl Wiszumerski will be our starter,” Kelly said. “He’s a junior that has really, really played great lacrosse here in the preseason. We’re excited that he’s really taken the job and won it. He’s doing a great job communicating with the defense and ultimately stopping the ball.”

Wiszumerski, who has the unenviable task of succeeding three-year starter Connor Mishaw, played in just five games last season, surrendering five goals and making eight saves in 31 minutes, 1 second of play. But Kelly said Wiszumerski proved himself in a recent scrimmage against Franklin & Marshall during which he gave up five goals and made nine saves in one half.

“Karl played very well against a talented team,” Kelly said. “… I don’t think we’re worried about him getting in his first college start. He’s been tested over the last couple of weeks against some really good, skilled teams. He’s seen some live bullets from other teams and has been playing pretty well. We’re looking for him to continue to build on what he has brought to the table in the preseason.”

Wiszumerski will have a fairly young defensive group in front of him on the field. The starting close defense will consist of three sophomores in Andrew Foster, Nathan Cain and Blake Russell (Northeast), and sophomores Andrew Schwartz and Michael Brennan are competing to be the fourth defensemen. Junior Thomas Rakes will start at long-stick midfielder, and senior Ryan McKinley will back up Rakes.

One player who will not be available is senior Ethan Haddaway. Haddaway, a Mount St. Joseph graduate who recorded 35 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers in 2012 before sitting out last season, is battling an elbow injury.

“[H]e’s got a doctor’s appointment,” Kelly said. “We’re waiting for him. Hopefully, he’ll be cleared next Wednesday, and he’ll be back on the field for us hopefully for Randolph-Macon [on March 1]. It’s unfortunate that we’re without him for the first couple of weeks.”