U.S. goalies great tag team

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

United States lacrosse coach John Desko has to admit splitting playing time between ace goalies Trevor Tierney and Chris Garrity is like picking either chocolate cake or apple pie for dessert.

No matter which way you go, it's a palatable and delightful selection.

The unbeaten Americans have taken an admirable philosophy toward their two all-star netminders at this world field lacrosse championships -- why choose one or the other when you can have both?

For the sixth straight game, Tierney and Garrity played a half each (40 minutes apiece) in the U.S. 13-10 semifinal victory over Australia yesterday. Don't be surprised to see the same halftime switch in tomorrow's final.

"Unless one of the goalies comes out in the first half and is blazing on fire, I see no reason to change the way we've been doing it," Desko said. "We talked with the guys to see if they have a preference of starting the game or coming on in the second half but there doesn't seem to be one. This time, we started with Trevor and Chris came in and probably made the save of the day (on Aussie attacker Brendan Mundorf) in the fourth quarter when (Australia) was on a run."

Garrity, who played the second half of the dramatic one-goal win over Canada in the preliminary round, was the busier yesterday, making eight saves on 14 shots while Tierney finished four-of-eight.

Tierney is used to sharing the ball-stopping load as a member of the U.S. national program. At the 2002 worlds in Perth, Australia, the 27-year-old Princeton, N.J., native split the duties with Chris LaMonica all tournament -- including the gold medal final win over Canada.

"It's such an honour to play for this team that Chris and I understand that the important thing here is to win and we're both playing well so it really makes no difference who plays in the first or second half," Tierney said. "We usually find out on the day of the game who's going to play and when. You have to be ready all the time."

Playing for one's country makes it easier to put aside matters like playing time but it doesn't work the same way in the Major Lacrosse League (MLL). Tierney and Garrity were pro teammates for a month in Boston but Tierney quickly moved to Baltimore and the two oppose each other in league play.

"It worked out for me and it worked out for him," Garrity said. "It's part of the business. At the worlds, it's about getting the gold. If I want to make a bunch of saves and play (full) games, I can do that in the MLL."

There's a good chance both goalies, if they keep up their high level of play for another four years, could be back in the American lineup at the 2010 worlds in Manchester, England.

"(U.S. equipment manager) Jimmy Butler was bugging me the other day asking me if I was going to come back for another one (in 2010)," Tierney said. "If I'm able, I'd love to and it was nice that a member of the staff thought enough of me to even suggest that I might be interested in coming back."

One thing's for sure at the next worlds -- neither will be too worn out from his workload here.


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