Matt Vierheller opened the season as the starting goalkeeper in Mount St. Mary's first three games, compiling a 1-2 mark. The sophomore then stood on the sideline and watched senior Frankie McCarthy make 13 saves and power the team to an 11-8 victory at Georgetown a week ago.
But Vierheller was in the net Saturday in the Mountaineers' 10-8 win against Furman at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg, and barring injury or ineffectiveness, coach Tom Gravante and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Tim McIntee agreed that Vierheller will be the starter for the remainder of the season, especially during Northeast Conference play.
"We're going back with Matt moving forward toward conference play," Gravante said Tuesday morning. "Things could change in practice based on players' performance. But right now, the plan is to start Matt Vierheller against VMI [on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Emmitsburg], and what happens from there based on how that game starts and develops into the second half, we could certainly put Frankie in the second half. That's up to Coach McIntee and how this game unravels."
Gravante said McCarthy got the start at the Hoyas because the plan was to give Vierheller the first three starts before turning to McCarthy. Gravante said McCarthy mirrors former goalie T.C. DiBartolo in that he thrives against opponents who take many shots.
"T.C. was great if teams had a high volume of shots," Gravante said. "He got better as teams just kept shooting, and Frankie is very similar, in Coach McIntee's opinion. So we were anticipating that Georgetown would unleash a barrage of shots during the game. … And then we agreed that Matt would go back into the cage against Furman and move forward from there."
McCarthy has better numbers in goals-against average (7.05) and save percentage (.650) than Vierheller (9.48 goals-against average, .513 save percentage), but the latter has a larger sample size than the former. Regardless, Gravante repeated his earlier statement that Mount St. Mary's (3-2) is in a good spot with two starting-caliber goalkeepers.
"As I mentioned at the beginning of the season, I'm very confident with both of those young men," he said. "We're in a unique position, which is great to have – two goalies that are solid."