first_imgDominic Lamolinara sat in the Carrier Dome stands and looked out at the atmosphere that he always wanted to be a part of. It was Feb. 9, 2011, and the Syracuse men’s basketball team was hosting Georgetown in front of 26,904 fans. The crowd was raucous. It stuck with the Orange until the end of the game, and that caught Lamolinara’s attention. At the time, he was a freshman goalie at Maryland and the Terrapins were scrimmaging Syracuse the next day. Coming out of St. Mary’s (Md.) High School, it was his dream to play in Central New York, but his recruiting process kept him local in College Park. Then it clicked. When the Terps returned home, Lamolinara immediately applied to transfer. “It was just the right move for me,” Lamolinara said. “Syracuse was always somewhere I wanted to play and at that time it made sense.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Saturday, Lamolinara will face his former program in the regular season for the first time when No. 2 Syracuse (2-0) hosts No. 5 Maryland (2-0) at 1 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. The senior goalie played 6:15 in three games for Maryland in 2011 before a coaching change and crowded net led him north — where he’s since become the orchestrator of a back line preparing to play its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference game. “He’s from Maryland and he went to the University of Maryland,” SU head coach John Desko said. “I’m sure it’s important for him and he wants to play well.”Lamolinara was a standout goalie in high school, but didn’t have the pedigree to attract Syracuse.Instead then-Maryland head coach Dave Cottle took Lamolinara as a preferred walk-on. UMD was where both of his parents went, and going there allowed him to stay close to the school where he was a team captain, most valuable player and collected 253 saves as a standout senior. But Maryland didn’t provide Lamolinara with the opportunity to showcase his talent at the collegiate level. Niko Amato, the nation’s No. 1 goalie in Lamolinara’s class, and Kyle Bernlohr, the eighth-ranked goalie in the following class, both committed, and Cottle was replaced by current Terps head coach John Tillman before the start of the season. An injury to senior goalie Mark White allowed Lamolinara to fight for the starting spot during the season, but Amato had been with the team for a year and half as a redshirt and swept in to corral the starting spot he’ll jog out to this weekend. “(Lamolinara) had done a really good job of improving,” Tillman said. “Yet we just felt that Niko was just a little farther ahead. Who knows if they would have come at the same time.“We know we’re going to have to take good shots to put it in against him on Saturday.”Tillman listed Lamolinara’s strength as being able to use his athleticism to make difficult saves clearing the ball. But he also acknowledged that it’s been three years and Maryland will have to watch tape to pick up on the senior’s tendencies. Lamolinara echoed that, saying he isn’t too familiar with any players on the current Terrapins roster. A lot of Maryland’s key players weren’t around when he was there, and he hasn’t done too much to keep up with the Terps since leaving. “There’s not much information I can provide on these guys,” Lamolinara said. “We just know it’s going to be a tough start to the ACC schedule.”Syracuse’s goalie situation has been unclear since the team started practice in January. In its first two games, Lamolinara started and was replaced by junior Bobby Wardwell at halftime.Desko said on Tuesday that the Orange will stick with that approach for the foreseeable future. But he also said that if Lamolinara were to get hot, he’d have to ride him into the second half. And what better game than Maryland for Lamolinara to give his coach no choice but to leave him on the field for 60 minutes. Said SU senior Billy Ward: “Dom’s not the guy to say it, but he’d be lying if he said this game hasn’t been circled on his calendar.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 20, 2014 at 2:00 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesselast_img