Feature: Goalies in the Workplace
|Current profession||Senior at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Future Plans are to serve in the United States Army as a pilot. I am currently in the process of applying for Army Aviation.|
|College||US Merchant Marine Academy|
|Major||Logistics and Intermodal Transportation|
|Number & why||13- When I started playing goalie I loved watching the Syracuse Goalie at the time Rob Mulligan, his number was 13|
|Right / left||R|
|Hometown||West Islip, New York|
Senior year I was selected as the goalie for all-league honors
|College LAX recognition||Sophomore year I was 2nd team all-conference and both junior and senior year I received 1st team all conference.|
|Years played lacrosse||13|
|Years played goalie||8|
|Favorite book||Fields of Fire|
|Favorite quote||"It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions
|Shaft / head combination used||Eclipse head with a c-405 kryptolyte shaft.|
Interview with John Pagano (USMMA)
This past spring the US Merchant Marine Academy burst onto the DIII lacrosse scene as a force to be reckoned with. The Mariners surprised many people, finishing the season on top of the Skyline Conference and earning the team its first NCAA tournament berth. The backstop to the up and coming team was goalie John Pagano, who finished his final year of eligibility with 201 saves, a .613 save percentage, and an 8.43 GAA. John is finishing up his final year at King’s Point and hopes to serve our country as an Army Aviator once he graduates.
Thank you John and we all wish you the very best!
How did you become a goalie and why did you enjoy playing this position?
I simply woke up one day the summer going into high school and said “I want to start playing goalie.” I practiced a lot and had a lot of people always shooting on me. I enjoyed playing because I loved the pressure in games. I loved making big saves and playing the role as a goalie on a team.
What was the biggest save you ever made?
I would have to say my senior year of college against Stevens Tech in the conference championship. We were tied and on man down defense. It was a cross crease pass to an open man and I went from one pipe to the other and saved it up high from point blank. We then went on to win and entered the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
What kind of equipment did you like to use and why?
Any glove with a big thumb for protection. I had the Warrior Superfreaks and they were great because of the huge thumb for protection. I used an ice hockey goalie cup. I would not step in the cage unless I had one. And I loved the new Gait helmets. They were real big and had a lot of protection.
How did you handle the mental aspect of our position?
When I first started playing I was always real nervous in games. But once you get experience of playing at a high level, and in big games, it all goes away. I also realized it was just a game and the whole team has to come to play. Once you realize that, the position just becomes fun. And also the defense is a huge part. I could not have done it without them.
What is the most difficult mental challenge in being a goalie?
I would have to say letting goals in at crucial times, for example a tie breaker, or even a game winning goal. It is so important to keep your composure and brush it off and forget about it and just concentrate on making the next save.
How much effort did you put in to develop your ability?
I would do a lot of running and jumping rope. The most important thing is being in shape so you can deal with the stress and fatigue during a game. I would also have people shooting on me whenever I could get the opportunity.
Did you do any special activities to prepare for the season from a positional standpoint besides team lifting and running programs?
I did a lot of hand-eye coordination drills. The main thing for me was to just see a lot of shots. The best way to get better is to have people shoot on you as much as you can during the off season. Even after practice during the regular season I would get warmed up again. It is so important to just keep working on making saves against a shooter.
How did you get to become a starter for your team?
I was always challenged at my position. In high school and especially college there were always other goalies competing for the spot. Even after coming back from the year before as the starter, it’s a new year. You still need to fight for the position. The thing about a starting position is it can always be taken away because there is a guy right behind you who wants it just as bad. I used this for motivation and worked hard in the off season and everyday at practice to make sure I got the starting spot and kept it.
Looking back on your college career, what was the greatest accomplishment you achieved as a part of a team or as an individual?
Definitely when we beat Stevens Tech my senior year to go on to the NCAA Tournament. It was the most exiting game I ever played in.
Describe for our readers some of the techniques and styles you used when you played the position and any philosophies you have about the game.
The best thing for you as a goalie is to watch other goalies play. Try out their different techniques and then find the one that works best for you. My philosophies on the game are to keep practicing and stick with it. It is the greatest position on the field. It can get very hard and stressful at times. It is extremely important to have confidence and not to get down if you give up a goal. You must just forget it and move on so you can concentrate on the next save and the rest of the game.
How will you remember your time as a college lacrosse goalie?
I will remember all the great friends I made on the team. All the sacrifices we made together to achieve success. I will also remember what I learned from being on a team, and the benefits you will have later in life because of it.
Do you plan to keep playing lacrosse? If so, where?
Not at this moment. Right now I am concentrating on finishing my last year of school. But I look forward to play again in the future.
What lessons learned from your playing years are you currently using in your job now?
Well since I am still in school, I take all the things I learned in lacrosse and apply them to life. Being on a team really teaches you to work together with people and to develop relationships. Also when you can deal with all the pressure of playing in stressful games, and managing your time with school and lacrosse, life becomes a lot easier.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides lacrosse that you’d like to share with us? What do you do for fun?
I like hanging out with friends, working out, playing other sports, watching movies, wakeboarding, boating, and just working hard to get out of college and go work in the real world.
Who has been your greatest role model growing up?
I would definitely have to say my parents. They taught me to never quit. Even when times got bad on and off the field they were always there for me and put me in the direction to do the right thing.
Any advice for aspiring goalies?
Practice hard and keep working everyday at getting better. Remember it is just a game and to have fun playing it.