Defenseman Eddy Glazener has played in front of many goalies during his lacrosse career. From high school to college to now the professional level, he has noticed that netminders tend to be somewhat strange.
“I guess if you’re the type of guy who is going to stand in a net and take shots, you have to be a bit weird,” Glazener said.
Being backstopped by Tim Troutner Jr. with the Redwoods of the Premier Lacrosse League has forced Glazener to reconsider that assessment.
“Out of all the goalies I’ve played with during my career, Timmy is one of the most level-headed. His composure and overall attitude are inspiring for the defense,” Glazener said.
“There are times when you give up three or four goals in a row without making a save and everyone on the defense gets deflated. We never have to calm down Timmy because he stays on an even keel. It’s definitely impressive how consistent he is,.”
Troutner has been the starting keeper for the Redwoods throughout his entire professional career and has brought a rock-steady presence in the cage. The Annapolis resident’s status as one of the finest goalies in the game was reaffirmed last week when he was voted a starter for the Premier Lacrosse League All-Star game, being held Sunday night at PayPal Park in San Jose, California.
Troutner, one of four goalies chosen for the game, will start for the Adversaries team led by captain Grant Ament. He beat out Archers netminder Adam Ghitelman based off fan voting and PLL player balloting. Chaos goalie Blaze Riorden is captain of the Defenders team and was voted to start but will sit out the game with a lower body injury.
“It’s definitely exciting and a great honor. I’m really looking forward to playing in a showcase event like this,” Troutner said. “I’m super proud to be one of only four goalies in the game and to go out and represent my team.”
Troutner played in the PLL All-Star game as a rookie in 2019 and won the goalie skills competition, which involved facing step-down shooters from 15 yards away. He edged Riorden by making the most saves. There was no All-Star game last season as the PLL played a bubble tournament in Salt Lake City.
Troutner, who ranks fourth in the PLL with a .588 save percentage through six games, was worried his candidacy might be hurt after he was replaced at halftime of a game against the Waterdogs two weekends ago. After allowing 10 goals in the first half, the St. Mary’s High graduate was replaced by backup Jack Kelly.
It was only the second time in his three-year pro career that Troutner had been pulled. As a rookie, he came out of a game then was reinserted a little while later. Redwoods coach Nat St. Laurent liked the way Troutner responded.
“When I told Timmy at halftime that we were putting in Jack Kelly, he looked me right in the eye and said he deserves a shot and I’m happy for him,” St. Laurent said. “Timmy was cheering Jack from the sideline and was encouraging him during timeouts.”
Kelly, a Brown graduate who was a member of the 2018 United States national team, was back on the bench for the next game. Troutner was at the top of his game the following weekend in Minneapolis, registering 17 saves and giving up just seven goals in a comfortable victory over the Whipsnakes.
“We knew right away he was going to bounce back. I anticipated Timmy having a great game against Whipsnakes and sure enough he responded really well,” St. Laurent said. “That is why Timmy deserves to be in the All-Star game and is one of the top two or three goalies in the PLL, period.”
‘Brings an edge’
Troutner was the starting goalie for the St. Mary’s squad that captured the 2015 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship. In fact, he performed so impressively during that magical playoff run he received a scholarship offer from High Point University after having previously been overlooked by Division I recruiters.
Troutner was a four-year starter at High Point and set a program record with 668 career saves. He was named first-team All-Southland Conference and second-team All-America as a senior.
Redwoods selected Troutner with the 20th overall pick in the 2019 PLL draft and became the starter from the outset. He wound up making 71 saves and stopping 56% of the shots he faced in being named PLL Rookie of the Year.
“Timmy brings an edge. It probably stems from the fact he wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school,” St. Laurent said. “That’s one of my favorite things about watching him play. He wants to be on the big stage, he wants to face every team’s best shooter.
“Every time Timmy goes out there, he wants to prove to people that he’s the best.”
Troutner has been fortunate to play behind a pair of outstanding close defensemen in Glazener and Garrett Epple, who played together at Notre Dame. As a rookie, deferred to Glazener in terms of directing the defense.
“When we drafted Timmy, I just wanted him to worry about stopping the ball. With Eddy Glazener out there, we have the best field communicator in the game,” St. Laurent said.
“Now that Timmy has played three seasons with Eddy, those two are always on the same page. Timmy has great in Eddie to command the traffic and does a great job of reinforcing what Eddie is saying. However, if Timmy sees something different, he does a good job of interjecting to make sure the defense knows.”
Troutner has already developed a reputation as one of the most athletic goalies in the PLL and the Redwoods coaching staff takes advantage of that ability by using him in the riding game.
“What makes Timmy unique is how athletic he can be coming out of the cage, which allows us to do a lot of different things,” St. Laurent said. “It also allows our defensemen to be more aggressive in certain areas of the field because they know he can step out and intercept a pass or help throw a check.”
With the merger of the PLL and Major League Lacrosse, all the best players in the world are now sharing the same fields. All eight teams are absolutely loaded with offensive talent with dynamic dodging attackman and sharpshooting midfielders.
“These offensive players have incredible skills and every game you’re facing six guys on the field that can put the ball into the back of the net,” Troutner said. “These guys are shooting the ball 100 mph and you’re seeing all sorts of different release points. You always have to be on your ‘A’ game in this league.”
Making a living off lacrosse
Troutner spends considerable time reviewing film to scout the next opponent and understand the playing and shooting styles of the offensive personnel he’ll be facing. He has a personal trainer to help with staying in shape during the week and goes to a nearby field to do position drills and take shots.
Since graduating from High Point, Troutner has served as an assistant to Zach Burke at Westlake High in Austin, Texas. Burke is another former St. Mary’s High player who was previously head coach at Spalding.
Troutner was recently hired as head coach at Vandergrift High, a rival to Westlake. He and Burke also operate a club lacrosse program known as South Star. Minimum salary in the PLL is $25,000 per summer, so factor in various camps and the 24-year-old is making a nice living doing solely lacrosse activities.
“Life is great. I love helping grow the game in Texas and developing young players,” Troutner said. “I’m also traveling around the country playing the game I love. You can’t beat it.”
St. Mary’s is well represented in the PLL with 2010 graduate Mark McNeill among the oldest players in the league. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound product of North Carolina is a short-stick defensive midfielder for Archers and was recently added to the All-Star roster as a replacement.
Jake Carraway, who was a junior on the 2015 MIAA A Conference championship team, is starting for Atlas and a candidate for Rookie of the Year. The Georgetown graduate has amassed 15 points, five of which came during an upset of Redwoods.
Troutner and Carraway are extremely close friends but did not talk to each other the entire game.
“I didn’t shake his hand after the game because I was still pretty mad,” Troutner admitted. “I got over it and Jake and I wound up going to Dewey Beach together to hang out. I’m super excited to see the success Jake is having as a rookie.”
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St. Laurent fully expects Troutner to represent the United States in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships down the road. “That’s how highly I regard him as a goalie,” he said.