What’s the biggest problem that’s plagued the Maryland lacrosse team this spring?
Easy, inconsistency on offense (and especially in the midfield).
But look at the Terps’ most recent loss – a 16-10 setback at North Carolina in the ACC tournament – and goalie play was a fairly legitimate problem even after taking into account an unpleasant background of silver bleachers at Kenan Stadium.
Maryland, of course, has employed some version of alternating goalies for the bulk of the last two seasons. Last year, the Terps typically made a goalie switch at the break. This season, the starter tended to get at least three quarters – if not a full game – while taking turns.
I brought up the goalie issue, and coach Dave Cottle provided a predictably coy reply: “It’ll be a game-time decision.”
Brian Phipps has a 7.63 goals against average and a .580 save percentage. Jason Carter checks in at 7.54 goals against and a .495 save percentage.
Now, let’s break that data down a little bit. First, by performance against the NCAA tournament field:
Phipps: .537 save percentage, 8.93 GAA
Carter: .449 save percentage, 10.52 GAA
And now in the final eight games – basically the last half of the season for the 9-6 Terps:
Phipps: .581 save percentage, 7.44 GAA
Carter: .466 save percentage, 8.67 GAA
Now, I’m no coach, and Carter has certainly enjoyed some fine moments in his career.
But Phipps has dramatically outperformed him not just against elite opponents, but also over the final half of the season (granted, there is some overlap in those data subsets).
And if this really is a game-time decision (which it almost certainly is not), Maryland would really be better off with Phipps getting the nod.