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Goss ’20 lifts men's lacrosse over Penn in career-high 19-save effort

First-year goaltender limits Penn to three goals on 18 shots, leads Bruno to comeback victory

The men’s lacrosse team continued conference play last weekend with a matchup against Penn Saturday at Stevenson-Pincince Field. Coming off a tough loss to Princeton the week prior, the Bears (5-4, 2-1 Ivy) hoped to secure a pivotal win to get the season back on track. But with 11:24 left in the second quarter, Bruno trailed 5-1.

Facing a four-goal deficit, the Bears’ defense rallied, led by a 19-save effort by first-year goalie Phil Goss ’20. Down the stretch, with the help of a strong defensive front, Goss allowed just three goals on 18 shots to help Brown mount a comeback in the 11-8 win.

For his significant impact on the Bears’ come-from-behind victory, Goss has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: You had a career-high in saves in the win. What does that mean to you?

Goss: It’s a nice stat line on paper, but you really have to credit the defense. They did an incredible job of stopping guys — just allowing low angle shots. Penn took 41 shots but not many quality ones. The defense did a great job of keeping them out of the middle and down the alleys, and giving me shots that any goalie could stop.

Can you talk a little about the Penn game and Brown’s comeback?

I just try to focus on what’s going on right there immediately in front of me. The leaders out there are keeping everyone calm. We were just focused on keeping our cool and taking it one play at a time, getting back on top and doing the little things in hopes that they would compound and get us where we should be.

What’s it like starting as just a freshman?

Honestly, it’s a tough transition going from high school to college. The play is so much faster and the guys are so much more talented. But the older guys on the team have really been patient with me, helping out to the best of their abilities. There’s definitely some great leadership on the team.   

How much of playing goalie is a mental challenge?

It’s definitely a huge component. I’ve worked a lot the past two or three years on that part of the game. As a goalie, you kind of have to forget about the swings and just tame your mental voice and focus on the task at hand. You really have to lock in. The defense has been an incredible part of it, and the coaches have been great all year. I really appreciate the team helping me get into a mental state where I can just focus on stopping the ball when I see a shot and not having to think about the next play or the next game or anything like that.

What’s the dynamic been like with a new coaching staff this year?

I’m incredibly happy with the coaching staff. I couldn’t have picked a better head coach or assistant coaches. It’s a really experienced, really well-rounded group. Coach (Mike) Daly is a legend and has achieved so much in his career. I couldn’t be happier about the guys that I’m playing for, and I think program-wide we’re all really impressed with what the coaches bring each and every day — their attention to detail and intensity. I have so much confidence with them, and hopefully we’ll see success.

What are some of the expectations like for the Yale game this weekend?

There’s definitely a tradition of the Brown-Yale rivalry, but we don’t really, as a team, try to think too much about the past or the future. The big hype behind the game for us is that we control our own destiny at this point. So, for us, it’s just one game at a time, one play at a time. We are locked in on this one game, because if we can take care of business, then we control our destiny. That’s what it comes down to for us.

More generally, what are some goals for the season?

Coming into the season everyone has the goal of making the Ivy League Tournament, making the NCAA Tournament and winning the national championship. For us, those are all achievable goals. We know if we work hard and focus and take care of business, we can achieve all of those, and that’s the plan. It’s always been the plan.

Taking a step back, when did you start playing lacrosse?

I started playing lacrosse in kindergarten, but I kind of hated it so I quit. I started playing again in third grade, fell in love with it, and have been playing ever since.

Why did you decide to come to Brown?

When I toured the campus, I just fell in love with the community and the school spirit. At a lot of other schools, I saw a lot of people walking around, not really interested in what other people were up to. At Brown, everyone cares about how you are doing or what is going on in the room next door. I just loved the sense of the community that the school had to offer.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.



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