Syracuse Against UNC: Battle Between the Goalies

Two of the best goalies in the country will go head to head this weekend
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And finally, we hit my favorite preview article. Why? Because I am biased. Many of you have been following my content for a long time, but as a reminder, I was a goalie at Colgate from 2016-2020 before coming to Newhouse. So I know first hand, goalie play is a big deal. In any game, a goalie's performance can completely change the outcome. We see it all the time. Goalies who have double-digit saves and keep their teams in it. Goalies who let in the last goal of the game in double overtime. They, in some way, directly decide who wins or loses. 

Now, we all know it is more complicated than that. Offense matters. Draw controls matter. Defense maters. Turnovers and caused turnovers matter. But in the most literal sense, goalies save the ball, or they let them in. Either the other team scores, or they don't. The position carries a lot of weight, both physically and mentally. When you do great, you're the hero. When you do badly, the rest of the team sees that, too. No matter a goalie's performance, they are always the star of the show and broadcasters, writers, critics, parents, coaches, and teammates alike all talk about how goalies play. It's just that important. But it is a very, very hard position. That's why there aren't too many people who play it. 

People say goalies are crazy. Maybe true, but I think that's also what makes us good at what we do. All I know is this. This weekend, we have two of the best goalies in the country going head to head against each other, and it's going to be a movie. But easy for me to just say these two goalies are the best. Is that just my opinion? Yes, but also no. 

Nationally speaking, Taylor Moreno has the best save percentage in the country. Like by a lot. Her save percentage right now is .615. In 2019, Megan Taylor was the first goalie to ever win a the Tewaaraton Award, the most prestigious honor in college lacrosse. She ended the year with a .551 save percentage. Taylor if you're reading this, will you come on my podcast? Anyway, Moreno's Goals Against Average is 5.38, and as you all know, lacrosse is not a low scoring game. Still don't believe me? Fine, take Liz Hogan's word for it. She just did a few goalie articles for Inside Lacrosse and she rated Taylor Moreno as the number one goalie in the country. Full disclosure, I haven't watched Moreno play quite as much as Goldstock, but from what I have seen, read, and heard from her teammates and other people in the lacrosse world, Moreno is one of the most athletic goalies in the nation. She is agile, versatile, and her hand-speed is off the charts. She also has really come into her own as a leader and is someone that everyone on the team trusts in high-pressure situations. Italicizing that because it really is the most important asset. 

Goldstock is also one of the best goalies in the country for more reasons than one. She ranks top 5 in save percentage and top 15 in saves per game, so admittedly not as high as Moreno. That being said, she is doing all of this against one of the most stacked ACC conferences this game has truly ever seen. The ACC Conference had so many athletes return to play their fifth year, which makes the conference an even bigger powerhouse. Outside of the numbers, Goldstock also comes up clutch at the best times, she knows how to lead her defense effectively, and lastly, and most importantly, she frequently clears behind-the-back passes. The first time I saw her do it I was live in the Dome and I literally looked around to make sure everyone else saw it and I wasn't dreaming. Above all else, it's her athleticism that sticks out to me. She works just as well outside of the cage as she does in it, which gives her team a leg up in so many situations. She will run out and help on the clears, defend and pick off passes. Honestly she'd probably go full field and score if that's what her team really needed from her. Who knows what this girl is capable of. And again, feel free to check my high rating of Goldstock with Liz Hogan who ranked Goldstock second on her top ten list of Division 1 goalies. 

Asa Goldstock, #21, GK, 5-8, Graduate Student

Made her way onto the 2021 Women's Tewaaraton Watch List. In her senior year, she led the country in goals-against average (7.07) and started all eight games. She had a career best .481 save percentage and she led the team in saves (39) and ground balls (24). She was also fifth in caused turnovers (5) and she served as the team captain. Starter since her freshman year. 

2021 Stats: 59 Saves, 51GA, .536 Save Percentage, 6 wins, 0 losses

Career Statistics: 571 saves, 738GA, .436 save percentage

Taylor Moreno, #30, GK, 5-7, Senior

2021 Stats: 72 saves, 45 GA, .615 Save Percentage, 10 wins, 0 losses

Also made her way onto the 2021 Women's Tewaaraton Watch List. Preseason third-team All-America by Inside Lacrosse in 2021 and a Preseason All-ACC pick. Last year, she was one of five Tar Heels on the 56-player final watch list for the 2020 Tewaaraton Award. She started all seven games in goal for the Tar Heels, posting a 7-0 record, an 8.03 goals-against average and a save percentage of .478. Took a redshirt year in 2017 due to an injury and was a starter since the middle of her redshirt freshman (2018) season.