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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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Tabbed as the CAA’s best, Jamison MacLachlan has a big year ahead

Goalkeeper Jamison MacLachlan saves a shot in practice on Wednesday, Jan. 24. MacLachlan enters his junior year after an excellent first two seasons with the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

After establishing himself as one of the premier goalkeepers in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), Jamison MacLachlan is ready for the dizzying heights that the lacrosse world has to offer.

MacLachlan’s story began up in chilly Syracuse, N.Y. where he was born to an athletic family, including a father, Gavin, who played NCAA Division I lacrosse at Syracuse University. His father passed the love down to him when he bought him his first lacrosse stick. The two bonded at Syracuse men’s lacrosse games when he was a child, which hooked the young MacLachlan for life.

After beginning his career as a face off, get off (FOGO) midfielder who loved to sling the ball around and score goals, MacLachlan’s time as a position player came to an end towards the end of middle school. One day, the Orange Crush — his travel team — needed a goalie, but nobody there wanted to move to the cage.

However, he was willing to give it a try.

“No one else really wanted to be a goalie,” MacLachlan said in an interview with The Statesman. “FOGO middie, I liked scoring goals just as much as anyone else. I was the only one crazy enough to hop in there, and I ended up falling in love with it.”

The change was not seamless for him, as the individuality of the goalie position was something he had never dealt with on the lacrosse field. It was his experience and athleticism gained from playing other sports — such as soccer, football and wrestling — that helped him face the intimidating reality of goaltending. 

“Wrestling was one of those that was mentally huge for me,” he said. “It’s just you on the mat, just like it’s just me out there in the goal. There’s no one to turn to to blame. You just have to own up, and do your job. I was a goalie in soccer. In football … I was all over the place. In the same game, I played O-line and quarterback.”

No matter how many sports he played, lacrosse was always his top priority. MacLachlan played four years on the Jamesville-Dewitt High School varsity boy’s lacrosse team, where he was a Central New York (CNY) Goalie of the Year award winner. He received All-CNY honors several times and led Jamesville-Dewitt to a 2019 Section III championship victory by saving 21 shots, which is a program record for a championship game.

However, 2019 did not end the way MacLachlan wanted it to. The section championship sent Jamesville-Dewitt to the state championship, where it lost 12-7 to Shoreham-Wading River High School.

The defeat lit a fire under MacLachlan that still burns to this day.

“I went to work everyday and just worked on improving myself as a player,” MacLachlan said. “After that, I got very serious.”

Soon after increasing his focus on lacrosse, MacLachlan came into contact with J.P. Brazel, the current associate head coach at Stony Brook. Brazel is a former collegiate goalkeeper who helped lead Hofstra to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002. Across his two decades as an assistant coach with colleges in the area, including Hofstra and Stony Brook, Brazel has helped several goalies develop into stars.

Brazel spotted MacLachlan at a tournament during the fall of his junior year and offered to take him on an official tour of Stony Brook. MacLachlan fell in love with the campus and the vision that his soon-to-be head coach Anthony Gilardi had for the Seawolves’ program.

While taking his tour, MacLachlan realized he wanted to be a part of Gilardi’s future plans.

“I had a few other schools try to recruit me … it just came down to talking to different coaches and hearing what they had to say,” MacLachlan said. “The thing that stuck out with Coach Gilardi was that he wanted me to come in and be the guy right away.”

In December 2019, MacLachlan announced his commitment to Stony Brook just ahead of his high school junior season, which wound up being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After wrapping up his high school career, MacLachlan came to campus in the fall of 2021. During his freshman year, he sat behind former goalkeeper Anthony Palma — who was a senior that year.

Whether he wanted to or not, sitting back and watching Palma go out and play was necessary for his development. 

“It was tough at first not playing, but it was something I definitely needed,” MacLachlan said. “Learning from [Palma] everyday, who was a great goalie, in practice and in games. The first game I was like, ‘Thank god I’m not in right now, this looks stressful,’ but by the third or fourth game, I was itching.”

On five separate occasions, MacLachlan got to put his notetaking to the test and actually play. In his five games and three starts as a freshman in 2022, he saved half of the 66 shots he faced and won two of his three starts.

In his first career start, he redirected 10 of the 13 (76.9%) shots on goal he faced versus Binghamton and earned the win. In his next start, he racked up 14 saves in 24 chances in a win over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His stout performances earned him a spot on the 2022 America East Conference All-Rookie Team.

MacLachlan’s watching and learning came to fruition in his sophomore year. He entered 2023 as the starting goalkeeper and hit the ground running, making a career-high 23 saves on 34 shots on goal at then-No. 9/10 Rutgers to open the season.

His opening day was a sign of things to come, as he started all 16 of the Seawolves’ games and saved 52% of the shots he faced, ranking second in the CAA. His 195 saves led the conference. MacLachlan recorded 10 double-digit saves performances, including five in a row to end his sophomore campaign.

During the five-game stretch to end his year, MacLachlan averaged 14 saves per game on a .543 save percentage. Behind his stout goalkeeping, Stony Brook finished its first season in the CAA 9-7 and advanced to the conference championship game before losing to then-No. 19 Delaware.

Though the Seawolves lost, it was to no fault of MacLachlan, who saved 29 of the 55 (52.7%) of the shots that came his way during the 2023 CAA men’s lacrosse tournament. In the title game, he recorded 14 saves in 27 chances, but it was not enough.

Though he was named to the 2023 CAA All-Tournament Team for his efforts, it was not a good consolation prize, as he was left hoping for more.

“It definitely left a very sour taste in my mouth … that feeling of losing that final game, but knowing we have a team full of guys who are hungry and want it.” MacLachlan said. “For me it lit a fire under me to work even harder, and I have to be even better than I was last year.”

Expectations are high for MacLachlan, whose junior season is set to begin in two days. He was named to the 2024 Preseason All-CAA Team, making him the consensus favorite to be the conference’s best goalie this year.

Further down the road, MacLachlan hopes to play professionally. He is also interested in taking up coaching, as he sees it as an extension of the leadership and tactical roles he is currently tasked with as a player.

In fact, he already has some coaching experience.

“I coached the Class of 2025 Orange Crush team with my dad this summer,” MacLachlan said. “I really found love for that and I could really see myself doing that in the future as a good way to stay connected with the game. I’m one of those guys who’s contagious with my energy, and try to get them fired up and get them going.”

As for now, MacLachlan’s eyes are set on the Seawolves’ season opener on Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Sacred Heart Pioneers up in Fairfield, Conn. He will look to make good on the preseason prediction and cement himself as the CAA’s best starting then.

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