In the final seconds of the men’s lacrosse team’s first home game, Bryant University’s Travis Harrington was desperately searching for a chance to upset No. 4 North Carolina.
With just five seconds remaining, Harrington sent one final shot flying towards UNC’s goal in an attempt to send the game into overtime.
And with that one shot, the fate of the entire game rested in the hands of goalkeeper Chris Madalon, in just his second start for the Tar Heels.
His game-changing save not only confirmed UNC’s 5-4 victory over Bryant; it also solidified his place in this year’s starting lineup.
Madalon allowed only four of Bryant’s 22 shots past him and tallied nine total saves, with three of those in the game’s final quarter.
“I knew it was going to be tough. It was a one-goal game pretty much the whole game,” Madalon said. “I just really focused on making that save. I knew I was going to get one more shot.”
Although the starting goalie position was up for grabs at the start of 2010, Madalon’s preseason play, a five-stop game against Jacksonville and Saturday’s performance against the Bulldogs have proven his worth at the position.
“Chris Madalon has just been the most consistent in the preseason, really taking control of the defense,” UNC coach Joe Breschi said. “You can hear the voice out there.”
After two years as backup to four-year starter Grant Zimmerman and one redshirt season, Madalon has trained patiently in the shadows, waiting eagerly for this opportunity.
“It’s awesome being a starter,” Madalon said. “I’ve waited a long time, three years now, and still they’re pushing me everyday in practice. I really need to keep focusing, stay on the right path, and they’re always going to be behind me if I ever mess up. And we’ve got two other great goalkeepers.”
Amid a number of newcomers, Madalon’s inexperience remains one the team is not worried about.
“I think we’re in great shape with all of our three goalies, but with Chris playing today, he’s a fantastic goalie,” sophomore Thomas Wood said. “His talent is off the charts. I couldn’t be more confident about him.”
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