Maryland Whipsnakes goalie Kyle Bernlohr

Goalie decision looms for Whipsnakes in Week 2

By Adam Lamberti | Jun 6, 2024

Maryland Whipsnakes head coach Jim Stagnitta has to decide on his starting goaltender for Week 2.

Goalie Kyle Bernlohr was pulled in the first quarter of last week’s 17-13 loss to the New York Atlas after letting in six goals without registering a save. 

Brendan Krebs allowed a few questionable goals soon after in relief, but he got much better as the game progressed and finished the game with nine stops and a timely caused turnover to spur a Whipsnakes comeback. Maryland nearly rallied back from a 10-1 deficit but couldn’t close the gap. 

Stagnitta defended Bernlohr after the game, saying the longtime Whipsnake had "a tough week."

“And I will take the blame for that,” Stagnitta said. “He was with his [high school] team playing in the state tournament, and then his flights were canceled all day [last Saturday] so he never really got a chance to practice with us. Certainly, he’s a much better goalie than that, but we probably didn’t put him in the best situation early on.”

I would assume Bernlohr will likely be the starter this Saturday against the Boston Cannons given Stagnitta’s loyalty to the 2022 Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year. Stagnitta inserted Bernlohr back into the lineup for the 2023 Cash App Playoffs after an elbow injury caused Bernlohr to miss a good chunk of the regular season despite Krebs’ strong play during his absence.

That being said, don’t be surprised if Bernlohr is on another short leash given how Krebs played the second half against the Atlas and last season. Both are very talented goalies, and this will likely be an ongoing battle all season.

The Whipsnakes confirmed Thursday that they are making a change at another position, leaving faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla off the 19-man roster and inserting Joe Nardella.

LaSalla got the nod in Week 1 after playing all of last season as Nardella recovered from an ACL injury. LaSalla, like Bernlohr, got off to a slow start against New York, going 0-for-6 against Trevor Baptiste to open the game, including a Baptiste goal right off the draw.

While LaSalla fought back with some wins to go 36% on the day, it still wasn’t an ideal outing for the former Virginia Cavalier.

Now, in Week 2, Nardella is the only faceoff specialist on the gameday roster -- a much-anticipated return for the 2020 Paul Cantabene Faceoff Athlete of the Year. The concern for him is that he hasn’t played field lacrosse in about a year and a half. How will his stamina be taking every faceoff in what should be a hot weekend in Charlotte?