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Feb. 14, 2016 — The Year of the Big Ten Goalie?

Collegiate women’s lacrosse has developed an interesting parallel to professional football. It’s an offense-happy pursuit which has developed attacking stars because the rules are written to hamstring defenders from making an honest attempt at preventing the other team from scoring.

It’s gotten to the point where, one year, there was no goalie selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team, despite the fact that there was an argument for all four of them.

This year, however, one conference has seen a number of first-year goalies being pitched into the fire of competition. And it just so happens that conference is the Big Ten, one of the two top conferences in NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse.

Michigan, a team in its third year of existence, has handed the starting position not to one of its more experienced players, but to freshman Mira Shane. Shane is from a Princeton (N.J.) program which has not won a state championship since 1985, but has had a number of fine individual players make the next level.

Another New Jersey goalie has taken over a Big Ten starting position as a freshman. Mallory Weisse of Westfield (N.J.) and the U19 national team has played both matches thus far at Northwestern.

Oddly enough, the lacrosse team representing the state university of New Jersey, also has a goalie playing her first varsity minutes. But Bianca Dente’s situation is a bit different. She’s a sophomore at Rutgers, but saw no action last year at Marist.

And perhaps most significantly, in terms of national rankings, there is a freshman in the mix for your defending national champions. Megan Taylor, out of Glenelg (Md.) played the second half of today’s season opener for the University of Maryland against William & Mary. There are three goaltenders on the Terps’ roster, and I’ll be interested to see what the ratio of playing time will be over the course of the season.

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