By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/28/14
Kady Glynn said she was anxious to test her skills when she entered to compete in the inaugural Goal Guardian National championships last week.
“I just went to have fun and see what it was,” said Glynn, a standout 2015 goalie at New Jersey Class II state champion Summit and a Loyola of Maryland commit. “Since it was a combine just for goalies, I thought that was really cool and I wanted to test myself.”
Glynn, of STEPS-NJ, finished not only as the 2015 age class champion, but also as the overall girls’ winner in the event that drew more than 100 competitors Tuesday through Thursday at Spooky Nook Sports Center in Manheim, PA. (see girls’ results below.)
Glynn posted a score of 2286 points. Competitors were scored on combine-type drills in four major areas: Reactionary, Offensive, Virtual and Athletic.
“It was one of the coolest things I have done; it really focused on every element I think a goalie has to do,” said Glynn, whose Summit squad finished 21-2 and the Tournament of Champions runner-up this spring. “I was hoping to do well. I think I exceeded expectations.
“I am definitely going to some of those drills on my own and keep getting better.”
The Guardian National Championship was the first ever “championship style” goalie combine ever offered. The unique Championship Competition is based on a patented “Guardian Method” points system, focusing on measuring the skills and competencies specific to the lacrosse goaltender.
The Championship testing included reactionary, offensive, virtual and athletic components resulting in weighted points according to categories. This new index, or Guardian Classification, not only gives NCAA coaches the ability to identify overall competency or skill level but also gives them the ability to match specific strengths and weaknesses of a goaltender to the particular system/defense the coach runs in their collegiate program.
“The two goals of the 2014 Guardian National Championship were to first create an objective measurement of the lacrosse goaltender, and second, create a ‘home’ for the best lacrosse goaltenders in the country to compete, be educated, and be celebrated,” said Guardian National Founder, Ginny Capicchioni. “We are proud to have accomplished both these goals.”
The 2014 Guardian National Championship hosted goalies representing both United States and the Iroquois Nation, and registered over 50 collegiate coaches, making it the largest Goalie showcase in history. The Guardian National Championship was housed in the largest indoor sports facility in the world, and claims to have used the highest level of technology available in amateur sports.
A quick rundown on the combine:
Reactionary – Featured many stations with many shooters firing from various locations, on the run, with defenders in the path of the goalie, or after quick passes.
Athletic – Combine-type testing with shuttle run, medicine ball throw, broad jump, etc.
Virtual – This was broken into sections in a classroom and on a computer to test goalies’ abilities to memorize faces and tendencies (such as recognizing lefty vs. righty shooters and where shots have been headed) and call out plays while facing 7v7 or 3v2 situations.
Offensive – This focused on clearing, carrying the ball and showing control while running in and out of obstacles.
“I liked the Reactionary drills the most,” said Glynn. “You had to stay focused when moving defenders were in your way of the shots. You had to find the ball quickly.”
“It was awesome to be treated like we were,” added Glynn. “In most camps, the goalies are just there to get shot on. But everything they did was for you to get better.”
Manasquan (N.J.) and T3’s Megan Gianforte was the 2016 champion with 2,047 points, said she wanted to work with some of the best goalie coaches.
“I honestly had no idea what to expect; I was going mostly for the fun of it and I also knew there would be a great competition,” she said. “The format was great. I liked the fact that we had high-caliber instructors to teach each component of the test.
“It gave me a true sense of my weaknesses. I liked the fast-paced test of each component and also the variety of the components.”
Gianforte liked the Reactionary test the most.
“It was broken into five or six stations, and they had many shooters at their disposal,” she said. “They used foam ball, but they were the same weight as regular balls. They had open shooters who shot or passed and in one station there were four different shooters.
“I excelled in the Athletic stations. I work with a trainer and we do stuff similar to this, but I never did these exact drills. I feel a goalie should be the most athletic person on the team. Quickness is what really sets them apart from other goalies; also their explosiveness and strength.”
How did Gianforte fare on the Virtual tests?
“You had to memorize faces and put them in order,” she said. “Or you had to memorize if a shooter was a lefty or a righty or where they like to shoot. I definitely didn’t expect these drills, but I liked them.”
“After each component, I felt stronger and stronger and more confident. There were college coaches lined upon the perimeter of a darkened room while I called out plays. That was intimidating, but I thought it was cool.”
“I got to play with the top goalies in the nation. I found my weaknesses during this competition and I am definitely going to work on everything I need to work on. This really gives me confidence for playing in practices or in games.”
Great Valley (PA) 2017 goalie Mia Tornetta (Mongoose Club) not only won the 2017 competition, but placed second overall to Glynn with 2,142 points.
“I am trying to be more confident, and going into it I knew what I was capable of and I wanted to show the world what I was capable of,” Tornetta said. “It felt really great (to win); actually, I was a little bit surprised I did this well.”
Tornetta said it was easy to be motivated because the competition catered to goalies.
“I really liked it because they really understand goalies and what we do,” she said. “That was great. Sometimes people don’t understand goalies.
“They were trying to get more from us. For me, I know I really needed to work on things like my passing on the run. I thought that was great. I think I did well in the Reactionary drills, and I was working on putting my body in front of the ball. I also learned to focus on moving on to saving the next shot, not focusing on the last one that got by me.”
“In the Virtual drills, we had to simulate actual games with pictures on a screen. I wasn’t used to that and I didn’t do as well as I did in the other drills. I just had to get used to it.”
Tornetta, who was the starter on a team that won the Ches-Mont League title and reached the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association semifinals, is not thinking about picking a college yet.
“I am just going into my sophomore year trying to work on how I can get better,” she said.
(Total scoring based on tests in reactionary, athletic, virtual and offensive drills)
1. Taylor Suplee – from Maryland United & Bullis School, MD (2055 points)
2. Laura Redler – from NJLC & Robbinsville HS, NJ (1738)
3. Ryan Schlageter – from DEWLax & St Rose of Lima Academy, NJ (1677)
1. Mia Tornetta – from Mongoose Lacrosse & Great Valley, PA (2142)
2. Emma Jacobsen – from LI Top Guns & Miller Place HS, NY (1896)
3. Caroline Pastorius – from Metro & Ridgewood HS, NJ (1834)
1. Megan Gianforte – from T3 Shore Elite & Manasquan, NJ (2047)
2. Khaia Baranowski – from South Jersey Select & Camden Catholic, NJ (1916)
3. Jenna Haring – from Lady Roc & Lake Shore, NY (1907)
1. Kady Glynn – from Steps Elite & Summit HS, NJ (2286)
2. Jamie Dewitt – from T3 North Elite & Ridge HS, NJ (2033)
3. Mary Martin - from Hudson Valley Hurricanes, NY (1885)