The Bates men’s lacrosse team is 4-1 and ranked 13th nationally entering this weekend’s game at Trinity. Last week, they defeated defending national champion Wesleyan, cementing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in 2019.

The Bates offense has been electric but it is the Bobcat defense that is forcing the NESCAC to take notice. The Bobcats deploy two goalkeepers who receive equal playing time, a strategy not often seen in men’s lacrosse.

Watch how Bates men’s lacrosse deploys a distinctive two-goalkeeper system — and makes it work.

“Some people think that if you have two goalies you have no goalie, and I think that we dare to be different and we believe that we have two goalies,” goalkeepers coach Andrew Deane said. “So it’s a lot of fun to see both guys compete.”

Mitchell Drake ’19 of Annapolis, Md., who plays the first half, and Rob Strain ’20 of Montclair, N.J., who plays the second half, have made it work.

The two goalkeepers bring different skill sets to the table.

“Mitch has always been faster on the hand side, just hand speed, and I think he’s better at stepping to the ball than I am, so I have been learning from him for the past years,” Strain said.

“I think I like clearing the ball more than Mitch does. I think he’s gotten a lot better over the past years, whether it’s from me or through sheer experience, but it’s been fun.”  

The two-goalkeeper strategy could change at any time.

Both Bobcats sport career-highs in save percentage so far this season, with Drake leading the NESCAC at 61.5 percent.

The two-goalkeeper strategy could change at any time. Drake and Strain are ready.

“It just means you have to be ready for anything,” Drake said. “Ever since my first year I have always had to be ready to play, so none of that has really changed.”

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