16 Sep
2020

Syracuse aims to improve its highly-touted goalkeeping with new coach

first_img Published on January 29, 2018 at 10:50 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary At a recent Syracuse practice, goalkeepers and position players separated to different parts of the field. Goalies Hannah Van Middelem and Bri Stahrr walked to the side and attached velcro ankle weights to their lower legs. They started jumping rope as Asa Goldstock fielded shots in the net.In the past, SU head coach Gary Gait would assume the duties of warming the goalkeepers, but this year the Orange brought in a fresh but familiar face.“Regy’s with the defense and Gait’s with the offense,” Goldstock said. “So, we thought we should have a coach for the goalies.”Following a season in which the Orange tied its earliest exit from an NCAA tournament, losing in the first round for the first time since 2006, Gait said the Orange had to “reevaluate” a lot of things, coaching staff included. In preparation for what SU hopes to be an improved season, the Orange hired Matt Palumb to be the goalkeepers coach moving forward. The job used to be allocated among Gait and graduate assistants, but now Palumb assumes the title.“It’s amazing to have his experience,” Gait said. “We’re definitely going to use his ability to help two of the top goalies in the last two recruiting classes.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange is now the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a coach that is solely focused on the development of its goalkeepers. No other school has a specific goalkeeper coach listed on the roster. Palumb, who is not currently named on Syracuse’s official roster, is expected to be added sometime in the near future, per a team spokeswoman.Palumb is familiar with success in net. He started in goal for Syracuse during the 1987-90 seasons, the same years that Gait played for Syracuse. Over that span, SU won two-consecutive national titles and Palumb was named an All-American in his final year. In addition to his experience as a player, Palumb has served on the Syracuse administrative staff since 2006 as an assistant athletics director for donor relations. Palumb was not made available to the media.Gait, who is one of the greatest Syracuse players of all time, earned all his success with his offensive prowess as an attack, which benefits the development of the offense. Assistant coach Regy Thorpe led the Orange to a national title in 1992 as an All-American member of the defense, which benefits the defenders. But, there was belief from SU that it needed an extra eye on the last line of defense.“Everything in the book, it’s been worked on,” Goldstock said. “It was something that we really needed.”Although Goldstock added that Gait still likes to take shots on her in practice and takes over if Palumb doesn’t attend practice, Palumb has been her “go to” for anything related to her position.Van Middelem, a freshman, said in high school she had a coach who worked a little bit with the goalies, but none that worked this closely and this often with them. She added that she didn’t find another school during her recruiting search that emphasized individual development of goalkeepers by way of a coach specialized with the position.The Orange goalkeepers meet with Palumb “at least four times a week,” Van Middelem said, both on and off the practice field. The goalies go through all their workouts with Palumb, Goldstock said, and jumping rope has been one of their bigger emphases early on in the practice season.In the future, Van Middelem expects the presence of a coach for that purpose to make SU a much more attractive destination for top goalie recruits.“A lot of programs don’t really focus on their goalies,” Van Middelem said. “When you do, that makes a difference.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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