Mike Pressler

How Mike Pressler’s ‘hunch’ led Atlas to draft Liam Entenmann  

By Lauren Merola | May 15, 2024

Before March 7, the New York Atlas had two goalies on their roster, and Tim Troutner looked like a safe bet to start in net this season. Then came draft day.

The strategy was clear: Liam Entenmann, no matter what.

New York coach and general manager Mike Pressler snagged the Notre Dame goalie with the No. 5 pick after using No. 2 on highly touted Virginia attackman Connor Shellenberger. The Atlas were tied to Entenmann in multiple mock drafts after last year’s starter Jack Concannon retired, and Pressler’s assertive pursuit of Entenmann signaled he’s the favorite to start in goal Week 1. It’s hard to justify spending that high a draft pick on a backup goalie.

Entenmann was the fourth goalie ever taken in the first round.

“You could argue who the best attackman is,” Pressler said. “You could argue who the best midfielder is, who the best D-guy is. You can’t argue who the best goalie is in the draft. If you get a chance to pick the best player at his position, I think you've gotta go for it.”

Pressler had a “hunch” that Denver Outlaws coach and general manager Tim Soudan wasn’t going to let Entenmann drop to the Atlas’ next pick at No. 10, Pressler told reporters on draft day. The Outlaws owned the ninth pick, the first of the second round.

Skeptical Entenmann would make it to 10, Pressler went for it.

He passed on a pair of top prospects in Notre Dame attackman Pat Kavanagh and Yale attackman Matt Brandau – and Pressler liked the fit of both – after thinking "for a while" about drafting another offensive player at No. 5 and waiting and hoping for Entenmann in Round 2. The coach said he decided a day or two before the draft that Entenmann would be his pick.

This season for the Irish – who earned the top seed in the NCAA tournament and will face Georgetown this Saturday in the national quarterfinals – Entenmann has made 157 saves, averaging 9.32 goals against per game with a 55.5% save percentage. He ranks third in program history for saves in a season with a career-high 196 last year, when he helped lead Notre Dame to the national title.

In 2024, Entenmann became the third men’s goalie to ever be named a Tewaaraton Award finalist and the first since John Galloway in 2011. Shellenberger is also a finalist. 

Later on draft night, the Atlas nabbed Syracuse midfielder Jake Stevens at No. 10 overall and Duke defenseman Tyler Carpenter with their final selection (No. 26). Of Entenmann, Shellenberger and Stevens, Pressler said: “We’ve fulfilled three starters.”

In April, Pressler said Troutner and Drake Porter were in position to be the starter and backup in goal, respectively. After adding Entenmann to that mix, the coach said New York is poised to have “a great camp, a great competition” at the position.

Troutner only played in one game for the California Redwoods in 2023 after Jack Kelly won the starting job. Porter played in two behind Concannon last season.

All signs now point to Entenmann being the starter in 2024, as long as he proves himself in training camp.