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Could return of John Martin resolve goalie dilemma at Hood?

When junior goalkeeper William Lane’s career came to a swift end after suffering a concussion -- the fifth of his athletic career -- in the second game of the 2012 season, Hood employed three different freshmen before settling on Joseph McCulloh.

The Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate registered a 10.56 goals-against average and a .596 save percentage in 14 contests, including 10 starts. Ordinarily, those numbers might be good enough to cement McCulloh as next year’s starter, but John Martin, a redshirt junior who made seven starts in 2011, is slated to return to the team after sitting out last season due to academic issues.

“McCulloh’s coming back, [freshman] Cody Hass is coming back, but also [junior] John Martin’s coming back,” coach Jeremy Mattoon confirmed. “He started half of our games for us in 2011. He’s academically eligible. So he’ll be back. So we feel very good about our goaltending coming back.”

Martin posted a 10.01 goals-against average and a .581 save percentage while competing with Lane for goaltending duties in 2011. Asked if Martin has the inside track to regain his prior status as the starting goalkeeper, Mattoon would only say, “We’re going to have a very healthy goaltending competition in the fall.”

The uncertainty of the goalie position could be counterbalanced by the return of a veteran defense. Junior Doug Brisbane (37 groundballs and 29 caused turnovers), sophomore Mark Filuta (51 GB, 27 CT) and freshman James Weger (63 GB, 52 CT) ended this past season as starting defensemen, and junior George Gambrell (18 GB, 6 CT) and sophomore Domenic Cetrone (13 GB, 5 CT) add depth.

Freshmen Miguel Caruso (5 GB, 3 CT) and Patrick O’Leary (24 GB, 9 CT) can play either long-stick midfielder or close defenseman, and the incoming freshman class also includes six long poles.

“We’re probably going to have 10 poles this year that can all play, and I’m very excited about our defense,” Mattoon said. “I told our guys that we’re going to run six defensemen next year. We’re just going to send them out in waves. As soon as one gets tired, he’s going to come out and we’re going to send a fresh pole in there. Our defense is going to be nasty next year.”

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