July 10, 2012

Getting to Know Team USA Under-19 Goaltenders

by Corey McLaughlin and Lane Errington | LaxMagazine.com

With the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championship running July 12-21 in Turku, Finland, Lacrosse Magazine has taken a closer look at the U.S. U19 squad that will compete for a seventh straight gold medal, beginning Friday with a game against Australia (noon EST).

We've already looked at the midfield, attack and defense. Last but not least: Team USA's goalies. Check back to LaxMagazine.com and LaxMagazine.com/teamusa/u19men over the next two weeks for live coverage from Finland.

To overlook Zach Oliveri would require some effort. The 5-foot-8, 200-pound high-energy righty has a great sense of his own athletic ability and is the type of goalkeeper that sometimes grunts when making saves. He's not afraid to talk to himself and is certainly never hesitant to direct the defense in front of him.

"I've never once seen him hesitate, on anything," said U.S. U19 assistant coach and Loyola Blakefield (Md.) head coach Jack Crawford. "He commands and controls the defense and makes sure people are where they need to be. That's what often differentiates guys who are average goalies from guys who are great goalies."

The Long Island native redshirted his freshman year at UMass and sat behind redshirt senior Tim McCormick on the Minutemen's goalie depth chart. But you'll hear more about Oliveri — and from him — going forward. He's also Team USA's designated DJ, providing pre-game and travel music for the team.

Fellow Long Islander Kyle Turri is less active in the goal than Oliveri, but he's not afraid to make his mark.

"He's a good communicator too, understands the position, and is very good at tracking the ball," Crawford said of the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Turri. "When he makes saves, he has sound positioning, although I've also seen him make some spectacular saves."

One of Turri's additional strengths is starting and controlling clears. He's comfortable with the ball in his stick. In one instance, during his senior season at West Islip (N.Y.) High, he went coast-to-coast to score a thrilling overtime winner against rival Ward Melville in a highlight clip that made YouTube rounds.

In Turri's freshman season at Duke this spring, he started three games and saw time in eight, finishing with a 2-1 record.

Oliveri and Turri have split time in each of Team USA's three exhibition games leading up to the world championships.

A version of this article appears in the June issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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