Forget rookie lacrosse sensation Michael Powell, forget the five other returning Orange All-Americans. The backbone of the Syracuse lacrosse team this season is fifth-year senior goalie Rob Mulligan.
It’s hard to look around college lacrosse teams and find a player more experienced or weathered than Mulligan is. After a productive high school lacrosse career during which he lettered five times and capped his senior year with an All-American nomination, he was then recruited to the mythical Syracuse lacrosse team.
Mulligan is the only returning captain and one of seven seniors who contributed significant minutes to the 15-1 season that ended with a national championship in 2000.
After redshirting his freshman year, the Farmingdale, N.Y., product relieved legend Jason Gebhardt — third in career saves at ‘Cuse — in seven games his rookie season.
But once Gebhardt graduated, Mulligan inherited the position between the pipes. For the past two years Mulligan has started every game in goal. In the same period, he only missed 58 minutes of game time out of 33 60-minute games.
He has already accomplished what most dream of. He played in two national title games, losing in 1999 to UVA. Last season, he acquired his championship ring as he won he began the season in eighth place in career saves, and can surpass his predecessor.
Mulligan’s numbers are comparable to many of Syracuse’s former goalies, no small feat in the program’s legendary history.
Although Mulligan’s statistics are impressive, his performance in big games is scary. He posts a 7-1 record in the NCAA tournament.
“He’s not a guy to be rattled by a couple of goals,” Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni said in a gross understatement.
Mulligan has not let in more than 16 goals in a game, which he did in a 24-16 win against Georgetown. He has an all-time 33-7 record as a starter.
B ut the Orange look more to Mulligan than just an impression of a brick wall. He is the appointed leader of the senior devoid team.
“He’s a great leader, a great person. We have the utmost respect for him and what he brings to the table. I don’t think I’d trade anyone for him.” tri-captain junior John Glatzel said.
Syracuse would be foolish if it even entertained the idea of trading Mulligan. Besides his three years of experience, two national championship games, an uncanny way of stopping a little piece of rubber, the senior is demolishing his personal bests in his storied career through seven games.
This year, Mulligan’s stats have only been on the rise. His career .594 save percentage has skyrocketed to .660 while his 9.13 GAA has dropped to a remarkable 6.15 mark.
If Mulligan performs as he has done, he seems to be willing another NCAA championship to cap his four years between the pipes.
Archived article by Amanda Angel