Since the first season of ASU lacrosse in 2018, one goalie has started all but two games. With the departure of Berkeley Bonneau, the Sun Devils have a goalkeeping spot to fill.
The Sun Devils' three goalkeepers are certainly up to the challenge. Junior Lindsey Spies, sophomore Flynn Murphy and freshman Katie Vahle have been competing in practice to earn the starting spot but look at the competition as an opportunity to help each other improve.
"You just pick up on different things when you're playing with them and it pushes each other to be better," Spies said.
All three goalkeepers have played a combed nine games, although the influence of past goalkeepers has been integral to their growth. The opportunity to watch and learn from Bonneau has helped Spies and Murphy to become the teammates and goalkeepers they are.
"She kind of took me under her wing and showed me the ropes," Murphy said.
Spies and Murphy have already spent one year together, learning each other's playing styles and learning from each other. The addition of Vahle for the 2022 season has given the duo the chance to act as role models for Vahle, who adds a fresh face in the challenge for starting spot.
"It's so fun to have Katie come in to just add another layer of competition," Murphy said.
Although Vahle and the Sun Devils have yet to play a game this season, the freshman already feels like part of the Sun Devil lacrosse family and is looking forward to continuing to grow as an athlete and teammate.
"Everyone on the team is super supportive and everyone has each other's backs," Vahle said.
Head coach Tim McCormack is looking for each goalkeeper to contribute this season regardless of starting position. McCormack expects every member of the team to create an encouraging and fun environment to play lacrosse in. The ability to be a good teammate is as important as being a talented player on McCormack's team.
As a former goalkeeper himself, McCormack is aware of the challenges that come with the position and tries to take some of the pressure off the goalkeepers and makes sure to keep practices and games fun.
"From a psychological standpoint, a lot comes into it," McCormack said.
The three goalkeepers have already been working hard to get better every day. They have created an environment of support and encouragement while competing to earn the starting spot.
"They challenge each other every single day," McCormack said.
McCormack doesn't take the depth of his roster for granted. The ability to choose between three outstanding goalkeepers everyday will give everyone the opportunity to learn and improve throughout the season.
"Anytime you could have multiple layers in any position of people that you trust and you can use on any given day, it's huge," McCormack said.
Regardless of who ends up with the starting position this season, the Sun Devils will have no shortage of talent in net in the foreseeable future.
The Sun Devils will start the season on the road at Michigan on Friday Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. MST.
Kathryn Field is a full time sports reporter, covering women's basketball and lacrosse for The State Press. She has previously worked for The State Press as a freelancer, covering many different sports.