The evolution of Evan Molloy in goal

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Evan Molloy doesn’t mince his words. Without a drop of hesitation, he’ll tell you how coaches adore his leadership and peers admire his confidence. He knows what he’s good at, and laughs off the suggestion he couldn’t have possibly been ready for this moment.It’s one of four years in the making as Syracuse’s backup goalie, which first culminated at the opening whistle against Hobart in his first career start on April 6. Then again against Cornell the following week, and once more against North Carolina four days later.“I’m not going to lie,” Molloy said. “It’s a great feeling to finally be playing out there. I don’t think that I ever lacked belief in myself.”His words provide a steel backdrop to a career that’s otherwise filled with holes, namely on 60 starting lineups dating back to 2013 that were absent of his name. But lineup No. 61 changed that, and Molloy’s presence in net for No. 8 Syracuse (7-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) has provided stability for a turbulent SU team that next plays Binghamton (4-7, 2-2 America East) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.The 6-foot-1 goalkeeper stymied the Tar Heels on Saturday and allowed only seven goals to the nation’s fourth-best offense, right on the heels of a deflating loss to the Big Red when he allowed the team to score double-digit goals for just the fifth time this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMolloy’s change in performance is emblematic of a skillset that’s hardly ever put him at the forefront of his team’s plans, but was refined too much behind closed doors to flop on the bigger stage.“You get evaluated in practice, and when your turn comes to get into the game you’ve got to get it done,” assistant coach Lelan Rogers said. “Both Evan and Warren (Hill) have done an outstanding job so far.“But you’re looking for someone that can spark us, can get us going.”It wasn’t an easy path for Molloy to fuel his team’s flame, as he recalled entering his freshman season as one of nine goalies by the time he first slipped on an Orange jersey. The list whittled down to six by the time the 2013 season opened, but SU was still one of the deepest goalie teams in the country.Adjustments had to be made if Molloy was to ascend atop the depth chart. He knew he stood on the outside of the goalie competition as a rookie. But coaches took exception to the freshman literally standing on the outside, with his toes kissing the crease as he stood in goal.“It’s kind of dangerous,” head coach John Desko said of Molloy’s style. “… We haven’t had great success with any of our goalies doing that.”Molloy often vacated his safe-zone to try and cut off passes around the net. His teammates and coaches were taken aback. He was just leaning on his high school style of play, an ambitious strategy that worked against average players but immediately became the butt of team jokes as the freshman whizzed around the field.He decided to retreat.“It’s the same game, it’s just the ball’s further away,” Molloy said of staying in the crease. “I just took a step back and kept playing.”That’s what he’s done for the last four years, steadily moving closer to the starting spot as he inched away from the crease line. After a gritty effort noted by Desko and Rogers in this season’s fall practice, Molloy still yielded the starting spot to Hill.It was perhaps the most familiar spot Molloy’s been in at Syracuse, having been a backup for three years in high school. He’d only play a handful of minutes, if at all, and got used to not warming up before coming into the end of blowout games.And in turn, he got used to not making the first save after coming in cold. It’s become a running joke in his family with a sour punchline. Sure enough, in the three games Molloy entered in the fourth quarter this year, the first shot on goal found the back of the net.“I like getting warmed up obviously,” Molloy said, “but I don’t need a warmup. I can get thrown out there and start.”But when he had the luxury of a warmup, it worked. He’s stopped not just the first shot, but the first two shots in each of his three starts this year.It’s a celebrated progression within his family, but more notably by a Syracuse coaching staff who hasn’t unseated Molloy from his starting post. He’s done trying to prevent shots from outside the crease, and knows now he might benefit from some pregame practice.He’s clearly a changed goalie, one who’s trying to make a name for himself in a program that his father holds the all-time saves record in. But don’t confuse Molloy for his dad, or even Hill, the former starter turned backup. Molloy knows it’s his turn.“You can compare me to any other goalie but that won’t really help you,” Molloy said. “I’m just there to worry about myself.“I’m a good leader out there, and if you want to get away from the save department, I clear the ball well. But that’s just me. I wouldn’t compare myself to any other goalie.” Comments Published on April 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm Contact Connor: | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more

Dodgers finally figure out a way to win

first_img“I think that it started from this winter, Kenley being open to going one (inning)-plus,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I talked to him again today this afternoon about it in the weight room. He reiterated, whatever it takes to help us win a baseball game.” Jansen hadn’t pitched in three days, so he was fresh. The rest of the Dodger bullpen had allowed 16 runs in 22 innings to begin the season.Jansen, who has saved 80 games over the ast two seasons, has three saves in his first three appearances of 2016.The Diamondbacks scored first against Dodgers starter Alex Wood, who labored early. Nick Ahmed’s second home run in as many games gave Arizona a 1-0 lead and left Wood at 54 pitches after three innings.“My command was a lot better in my first outing,” Wood said of a game in which he allowed five runs in five innings. “That’s baseball.” The Dodgers found a way to beat the Middle Reliever Blues on Wednesday.First they tried the easy way, by sending starter Alex Wood to the mound for the eighth inning sitting on 101 pitches. When Wood allowed an infield single, and Pedro Baez allowed a hard line-drive out and a walk, they tried the hard way.Closer Kenley Jansen was called upon to record the final five outs of the game. He did so rather easily, and the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1. It was the first five-out save of Jansen’s career. But Wood rebounded nicely. Roberts even allowed the pitcher to bat for himself with two runners on base and two outs in the sixth inning. At that point, Wood had thrown 87 pitches and no Dodgers starter had been allowed to throw more than 100.“I think that tonight, he and Yas (catcher Yasmani Grandal) were really in synch,” Roberts said. “He made one mistake to Ahmed, tried to go in with a fastball, it leaked back over for a home run. There was a point toward the end where he got 11 straight guys out. Aside from being late to cover first base, he did everything right. Mixing his breaking ball in there, changing speeds, then throwing the fastball in — he pitched a heck of a game.”Wood’s pitching line suggested a brisk game: Seven innings, five hits, one run, three walks and three strikeouts.But the pace was dragged down by four challenges, two by each manager. When Roberts unsuccessfully challenged that the Arizona shortstop, Ahmed, didn’t touch second base on an attempted double-play turn in the sixth inning, it was the first challenge he lost as the Dodgers’ manager.The 3-hour, 12-minute game was the longest nine-inning game the Dodgers have played this season.The Dodgers scored two runs in the fifth inning, abetted by two Diamondbacks miscues. When Roberts’ challenge on the neighborhood play was denied, Joc Pederson scored the Dodgers’ third run — only because first baseman Paul Goldschmidt inexplicably lost Ahmed’s throw out the end of his mitt.Howie Kendrick singled and scored on a throwing error by Ahmed.Adrian Gonzalez’s solo home run in the fourth inning against Arizona pitcher Rubby De La Rosa tied the game 1-1. Gonzalez’s first home run of the season coincidentally came against one of the five players the Dodgers sent to the Boston Red Sox to acquire him in 2012.Justin Turner was hit by two pitches in the game. The second got him on the hand, but Roberts said an X-ray after the game was negative.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more