It's not often that a coach will come right out and tell a man he's got a position cinched. But lacrosse coach Bruce Munro has had to dispense with this convention entirely. Faced with the job of defending its Eastern League championship, the Crimson finds itself with one (count him) one experienced goalie.
"Dick Thomas was a reserve last year," Munro says, "and he's certainly good enough to start. But we have no one behind him."
So the travelling roster for the forthcoming southern trip lists only one netminder: the speedy Thomas. Lacrosse being the rough game it is, what will Munro do in case of an injury?
"Ed Curtis, one of our sophomore attackmen, played a bit of goal for the freshmen last year," he explains. "We'll use him in the nets: but only if we have to."
A lacrosse team taking a five-game trip with only one goalie is like a baseball squad starting the season with a solitary pitcher. But that's only part of Munro's problem. No complainer, Munro still shakes his head a bit dazedly when considering the other obstacles between now and a repeat championship: although the first game is Monday, the team was unable to start full-scale scrimmages until two days ago.
This lack of pre-season work will hurt during those first few contests, particularly against such perennial steamrollers as Maryland and Navy. The club will be fortunate if it can come through the trip without serious physical losses.
Some of the cases have been extreme, Munro is counting on Ron Huebsch, for example, as a starting midfielder. But varsity swimming has kept last year's Rookie of The League off the field entirely. He will not make his 1952 lacrosse debut until the Crimson faces off at Stevens Tech Monday.
The final puzzle facing Munro is the reconstruction of his attack and midfields. Starting creaseman Ned Yost is back, and Bob (Moe) Baldwin, 1951's top reserve, will move up. Munro, though, will have difficulty finding someone to take over Rick Hudner's vacated feeder spot. Monk Aiello, freshman captain last year, is doing a good job, but his lack of size may hamper him against some of the rougher southern teams.
Midfield, too, suffered heavy graduate losses. Huebach, experienced Pete Brooke, and Skip (no relation) Baldwin make up a capable starting trio. The second unit, though, is green: Phil Waring, Chuck Edwards, and Todd Goodwin are all sophomores. Bill Julian, Hank Wood, and Al Sawyer form the third midfield on the travelling squad.
Captain Jay (Sailor) Byrne and Bill Spence are holdovers from last year's defense. Munro plans to fit Paul Jones, top sophomore prospect, with the two veterans, keeping Ned Maroni and Turk Broder in reserve.
The trip involves games with Stevens Tech, Hofstra, Maryland, Washington, and Navy. Munro doesn't look an any of them as breathers, particularly with the team in its present practice-less shape