By Paul Ryan | 5/15/14 2:15 PM
When Chris Bocklet scored 56 seconds into overtime on Saturday, it not only gave the Outlaws their 23rd straight win, it also gave Jesse Schwartzman the 61st win of his illustrious career. This win meant something different, though. No. 61 vaulted Schwartzman over Brian Dougherty and made him the winningest goaltender in Major League Lacrosse history.
“To be honest, it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Schwartzman says of the record. “To pass some legends like Trevor Tierney, Brian Dougherty and [Greg] Cattrano, it just means a lot and is something to be very proud of.”
For his record-breaking achievement and incredible 24-save performance against the Cannons, Schwartzman was named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Week. The win would not have been possible, however, if not for one final save from Schwartzman in the OT.
“Kevin Buchanan had beaten me a couple times that night and got a good shot off,” Schwartzman recalls. “There was some traffic in front of the goal but I was fortunate enough to make the save as it got me in the arm.
“I was kind of down low and I didn’t see the ball or what was going on but I looked up anticipating a rebound and I just saw Dom Sebastiani running towards midfield but he was running without the ball. Then I saw Ethan Vedder had the ball and was running alone. I kind of realized what was going on when Chris got it. He took a shot and it actually hit the pipe but came right back to him and he buried it. It was awesome.”
Schwartzman got his start with Denver in his rookie year of 2007 season and hasn’t looked back. The Johns Hopkins grad has played in all but one of the Outlaws games since that first season, posting an unreal 61-18 record with a 11.21 goals against average and a .557 save percentage.
“This record is a testament to the Outlaws as an organization – they’re completely first-class,” Schwartzman says. “I’ve been with Lee Zink for all eight of my seasons, with Matt Bocklet for a couple years at Hopkins, then six years with the Outlaws. So Matt, Lee, Dillon Roy and Chris O’Dougherty have been a big part of this and I couldn’t have done it without them and the rest of my teammates.”
Schwartzman is coming off his best statistical year in the league and one of the greatest seasons of all-time. In 2013, he posted an all-time low 9.67 goals against per game, breaking the previous record of 9.87 set by – himself. His .597 save percentage was also tops in 2013 and ranks eighth on the all-time list. And yet, he wants to do even better this year.
“I want to be the Goalie of the Year again,” Schwartman declares. “I want to lead the league in goals against and save percentage. I want to be on the final roster for Team USA and I obviously want to win a championship at the end of the year.”
The MLL Championship Game is still three months away, but Schwartzman won’t have to wait long for a chance with Team USA. Regardless of whether he makes the 23-man squad, Schwartzman will be at the MLL All-Star Game this year featuring the MLL All-Stars and Team USA at Harvard Stadium on June 26.
However, the World Games will be played in his backyard in Denver, giving him an obvious advantage of playing on a consistent basis in high altitude.
“It would mean the world [to play for Team USA],” Schwartzman says. “Most players dream to represent their country in the World Games and without the Olympics, it’s the pinnacle of our sport. It would mean a lot, especially with it being on our home soil and it being in Denver.
But still, the focus for the goaltender in the present is winning a championship with the Outlaws. The team has been the cream of the crop once again this season, sitting atop the MLL standings for yet another week. The team looks for win No. 24 this weekend against Rochester, but the word streak still has not entered the Outlaws vocabulary.
“There has not been one mention of that word,” Schwartzman says. “Everyone’s got one goal in mind and that’s to lift the Cup up at the end of the year. I know I can speak for everyone when I say obviously we don’t want to lose, but if we could win a championship at the end of the year, we would definitely trade some [regular season] losses for that.”