The lacrosse world has seen their fair share of four-year goalies dominate their conference and help lead teams to such great heights. What isn’t talked about as often, are the goalies who sat on the bench for half of their careers then thrown into the fray. No one has exceled like Kyle Bernlohr, who won the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award his junior year and led the University of Maryland to two straight National Championship appearances. He is ranked tenth all-time in saves at Maryland in only two years starting. Now he continues his career with after being drafted 11th over-all by the Ohio Machine.
What head and shaft are you using?
I always go for the simplest design and feel when it comes to shafts. I don’t like a shaft that’s completely grippy or a really slick one. I used an STX Scandium-titanium my entire life, then once at Maryland made the switch to an Under Armour Scandium-titanium. Sci-ti’s are always light, and have that perfect gritty texture. For heads, I have never in my life used anything other than an STX Eclipse. In the MLL I’m not sure what my future set up will be.
Do you string your own sticks? If not, who does?
I’ve been stringing my own sticks since middle school. Once in college I took a liking to the way Brian Phipps strung his sticks, and I used his stringing set up for all of college after he strung one up for me my freshman year.
What kind of pocket are you using?
- Mesh – East coast mesh 12 diamond goalie mesh
- Pocket placement – middle to high
- Shooters – two nylons at the top followed by two soft shooters below. All going straight across.
- Whip – I don’t really have any whip, relative to other goalie heads. I like to have my sticks throw as if it’s a short player head.
How do you tape your sticks?
I have three tiny pieces of tape going around covering about three inches below the head with about a few Cm space in between each one. Basically covering where my top hand rests. In the middle of the shaft I have another piece of tape the same size as the top ones. This one serves as a solid placement of where my bottom hands rests for shots and also a place for throwing. On the bottom of my shaft I just wrap it up about 6 inches.
Why do you like this set up?
I love this set up because my pocket is as deep as you need it to be to make saves and not give up rebounds. Also, not to deep to change the way that I need to throw outlets. A goalie head needs to have a perfect channel from the throat of the head to the shooters and East Coast mesh is awesome at holding its shape. My shooters get gradually tighter as you go upwards so I can feel the ball release at the top, but not hit the plastic. The tape set up is the same set up I’ve been doing for as long as I’ve played. Over taping can get heavy and tacky, and no tape at all can be too slippery and your hands become inconsistently placed.
Any superstitions or funny stories?
I try not to be superstitious, I think it can mess up your psyche. But as a goalie, of course I got a few. I always re-tape my sticks two days prior to a game. Coffee before every game. My starter and backup stick need to be identical and always sit the same way in my locker. Guys will always mess with me and touch or twist my mesh or flip my sticks differently because they know it’s my only noticeable superstition. The list goes on.
What is your wall ball and warm up routine?
I always bring a short stick out with me when I play wall ball. I’ve been playing with a short stick my entire life when I’m not in cage, and I honestly think it made my stick skills entirely better. I’ll then move back to my goalie stick and starting firing away from close distance, then medium distance, then to the point where I emulate a safe made and drop step into deep clears. Always pick a spot, or a brick on the wall to throw out every single time or else you are wasting your time. I’ll finish up with real close wall ball just with my top hand making saves in each spot.
What was your craziest sacrifice to Testudo?
I actually have never left anything for Testudo. That will always confuse me but it’s a funny tradition.
What is your best memory at the University of Maryland?
Passing run tests, fall ball practices, never ending film room sessions, just being in the locker room with the guys an hour or two before practice getting into arguments about everything and anything. Interestingly enough, my most heartfelt memories are with teammates throughout the week and everyday occurrences that was being a Maryland Terp. Being around the same 45 guys for about 7-10 hours a day for 9 months creates a bond that is indescribable.
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