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Men’s Soccer: Irish look for help in goal

Eric Prister | Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Irish will begin the 2010 campaign with a somewhat tenuous situation at goalkeeper, since senior Philip Tuttle, the sure starter coming into the year, tore his meniscus and will miss at least part of the season. That means that the likely starter, junior Will Walsh, along with freshmen Adam LaPlaca and Patrick Wall, will need to step up for Notre Dame to start out the season on a high note.

“Both [Tuttle and Walsh] are very good goalkeepers,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “They’re slightly different — Walsh is tall, Tuttle is a little broader. Both are very quick and both kick the ball very well. They will bring different things to the table, but both are good goalkeepers and both work very hard.”

Tuttle earned the starting gig during through the 2009 season, and in 13 appearances before breaking his thumb against Louisville in the Big East Tournament, he gave up only nine goals and recorded five shutouts. He then tore his meniscus during a tryout with the San Jose Earthquake this summer, and Clark said his presence will certainly be missed.

“Tuttle is amazingly quick and an unbelievably good shot stopper,” Clark said. “We made the decision last season that

Tuttle was going to play in the tournaments, and then he got injured. But we were going to go with him once it came to the playoffs, so we knew he was a very strong goalkeeper.”

Walsh is the most likely candidate to fill in for the injured Tuttle. Though the 6-foot-3 junior saw no playing time as the third-string keeper during the 2009 regular season, Walsh had an impressive spring and accumulated 11 saves in two games this preseason.

“Walsh, last year, had been the third goalkeeper, but in the spring and the Scandinavian trip, we played them even time, and it was great because Walsh got a lot of game time,” Clark said. “So that’s two springs now that he’s gotten a lot of game time, so he’s had a lot of time, and that’s been good for him. It’s not like this is a big something that’s new for him to be playing with the team.”

LaPlaca and Wall will both also have to be ready if called upon, and Clark said he believes that their high school All-America backgrounds have prepared them for just that situation.

“They’re both very experienced, so they’re not kids who don’t know what they’re doing,” Clark said. “I think they both did well on Sunday. We gave them each a half, but we still haven’t made a decision on them, and we won’t make a decision on them yet. We’ll be evaluating them every day in practice, and they’ve both come in and played well. And I know if they had to be called on, I’m sure both boys would do a very good job.”

Clark said he is hopeful that goalkeeping can be one of the strengths for this year’s Irish squad.

“Tuttle was definitely a strength,” Clark said. “He was a very experienced goalkeeper. Walsh has not had the experience except in the spring, and this is his big opportunity. He has three years left, so this is a great opportunity for him to get some minutes. So hopefully Tuttle comes back soon and we’ll have two experienced goalkeepers.”