By Max Jacobson | 8/2/12 2:51 PM
Boston Cannons goalie Kip Turner slowly trudged off of the field in Annapolis, Maryland midway through the third quarter of the 2010 semi-final matchup against the Chesapeake Bayhawks, facing an 11-3 deficit. Turner, the 2010 Warrior Goalie of the Year, was replaced halfway through the game by then rookie, Jordan Burke.
Although the Cannons’ comeback anchored by Burke ultimately fell short in a 13-9 loss, the young Ivy League goalie moved into a more prominent role in the Cannons goalie rotation. The 2011 season began with Kip Turner as the Cannons’ starting goalie but two weeks into the season, Burke seized the starting role and took command of the defense. He went on to see action in 12 of 14 regular season games while Turner played in just 3. The Cannons succeeded under Burke’s direction and won their first Steinfeld Trophy in franchise history. However, Kip Turner insists that his playing time was not limited due to a drop off in his play last season.
“Obviously I wanted to be out there playing but Jordan (Burke) was playing well and he earned it,” says Turner. “He kind of just kept me out of the goal because he was doing so well.”
The Cannons secured their goalie for the future in Burke and made Turner available in the 2011 MLL Expansion Draft. The Annapolis, Md. native was selected by his hometown Chesapeake Bayhawks with the 13thoverall pick and has felt at home since joining his new team.
“I love being at my parents’ house again,” says Turner. “It’s cool to play in front of the hometown fans and I’m much happier now that I’m playing and I’m with a great group of guys.”
Turner certainly seems more comfortable in the Chesapeake net. Through 12 games, he leads the league in save percentage (.551) and goals-against-average (10.58) and propelled the top-seeded Bayhawks to its’ third consecutive Championship Weekend berth.
Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle considers Turner invaluable to the team and added, “Kip has made saves at the biggest times in the game. On top of that, he has been a great teammate and has really been great in the clearing game.”
As the postseason approaches, Turner is looking forward to returning to the Harvard Stadium playing field which he commanded from 2007-2011. He made his initial return to Boston this season in a 16-13 Week 12 loss to the Cannons and enjoyed playing in front of the Boston fans that had cheered him on throughout his career.
“I thought it was a fun experience. Most fans weren’t mean to me, most were saying ‘hi’ and ‘thank you.’ It was just a little bit different not having the fans cheering every time a save happened but instead when I missed the ball.” Turner added, “I just wish we could have come out with a win, that’s the only thing I would have changed.”
While the Cannons continue to fight for a postseason berth, a potential rematch against his former team in Championship Weekend in Boston remains a serious possibility. A goalie matchup between Turner and his replacement Jordan Burke would be intriguing to many but Kip downplayed the idea of a rivalry between the two talented goalies.
“We’re actually pretty good friends and I have nothing but respect for what he has done,” says Turner. “He was nothing but supportive when I started over him and I tried to do the same thing for him when he got the job over me.“
While Turner has moved on from his Boston Cannons days and is completely committed to his ‘new regime’ with the Bayhawks, he will never forget last year’s championship run.
“Even though I had to be in a support role rather than being a starter, it all ended up working out and I’m really proud of that championship,” explains Turner. “The only thing is it would be nice to get a championship while actually being in the cage.”
As the starting goalie for the number one seed in Championship Weekend, Kip Turner might do just that.