Liam Entenmann Shines as U.S. U21 Team Competes in Training Camp Day 2


SPARKS, Md. — The U.S. U21 national team offense added their own soundtrack to shooting warmups amidst a backdrop of rock anthems like AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blaring through the speakers at USA Lacrosse’s Tierney Field a little before 11 a.m. 

The majority of the shots pinged the pipes before settling into the goal. They’re bound to when you have the likes of Brennan O’Neill, Graham Bundy Jr. and Brendan Grimes on the same roster, amongst a contingent of other accomplished scorers. 

But once the music stopped and live reps started, the percussive companion mostly faded away.

One of the main reasons? Liam Entenmann’s presence between the pipes. Despite slightly different attire, he remained in All-American form. Instead of his trademark gray sweatpants rolled up to his knees which he wore all this past season, the rising Notre Dame junior opted for red shorts like the rest of USA teammates. 

“I was thinking about not wearing them for the playoffs, but I realized if I didn’t have a good game I would blame it entirely on the sweatpants,” Entenmann said of the sweats.  

Their absence didn’t hinder his play in the slightest. During the final 6v6 portion of practice, Entenmann spun and tracked a Pat Kavanagh feed from X, then gobbled up a shot from Alex Slusher to give the defense a 2-1 lead in a competition to three goals.

“Let’s go, one more stop,” Entenmann encouraged his teammates while clapping. Less than 30 seconds later, he made a low save on Jake Caputo from the right wing and delivered a pinpoint outlet pass to seal the win. The offense ran an end-and-back to the other sideline. Head coach Nick Myers accompanied them for the second half. 

“He’s a guy who from when we first started working together in the first tryout to now you’ve seen so much growth,” said Myers, who described Entenmann as “mature beyond his years” and worked with him one-on-one, progressing through saving the ball with his gloves, then a field stick and finally his goalie stick all after he was warmed up by coach Stan Ross. 

“He’s a guy that, with this team, is really starting to take on a leadership role which you love to see in your goalie and he’s been a sponge to everything we’ve thrown at him.”

During this training camp, that meant more shots than usual. With Yale’s Jared Paquette on the field but sidelined due to an injury, Entenmann will be the only goalie suiting up for these three days.  

“You just have to hit the reset button after every shot,” Entenmann said of his approach to the added reps. “That’s one thing I learned this year in college and I think I’m doing a better job of that than maybe I was a year or two ago.” 

After starting all five games his freshman year for the Fighting Irish in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season and compiling a .511 save percentage, Entenmann put together the opposite of a sophomore slump. He earned second team USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American honors after he ranked fourth in Division I in both goals against average (8.85) and save percentage (.585). He played two more games than anyone who ranked in the top three of the latter category. 

Entenmann made 16 saves in his final game of the 2021 season — a 14-13 overtime loss to Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals. 

“Liam couldn’t have been a whole lot better,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said in the post-game press conference. “He’s been playing like that the last three or four weeks. He’s going to be one of the best goalies in the country the next three years. I think the best.”

Entenmann shined in the first live action of the day’s only on field session — a 2-on-1 build-up drill. He made three saves in quick succession, the last of which from O’Neill hit him square in the left forearm with a thud. Though visibly in pain at first, after a short pause in the action Entenmann made back-to-back saves on Conor Calderone and Patrick Hackler to clinch an 8-7 win for the defense.

“Liam, nice job in there,” Myers said after the drill wrapped. “Way to battle.”

Down a couple inches from where he blocked O’Neill’s shot, Entenmann wore a black silicone wristband. He said his father, Bill, gave it to him around three years ago. 

“If Not Me, Then Who,” the indented red lettering reads. 

It’s the mantra of the Travis Manion Foundation and the message Manion, a first lieutenant in the United States Marines, shared before his final deployment to Afghanistan. On April 29, 2007, Manion, was fatally wounded by an enemy sniper while drawing fire away from his wounded fellow soldiers. His best friend and roommate at the Naval Academy was Brendan Loone — a midfielder on the 2004 Navy lacrosse team that made the National Championship and fellow Navy Seal. Looney who was killed in action on Sept. 21, 2010 along with eight other military personnel during combat operations when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. 

Manion and Looney now rest side-by-side in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Entenmann called them his heroes. 

“You can apply it to a lot of different aspects of life,” he said, looking down at the words on his wrists. “If I’m not going to be the one who works the hardest, who’s going to do it?” 

Rivalries Fade In Red White And Blue

Though over 500 miles away from Ann Arbor, Ryan Schriber, a rising junior defenseman at Michigan, still resisted calling Ohio State by name. 

“I'm never going into playing That Team Down South thinking ‘I hate all these guys or whatever,’” Schriber said. “It’s all about being able to respect your competitors...As much as it is ‘The Game’ and ‘The Rivalry’ there's always that respect.” 

A quick look around the turf at Tierney Field and it was easy to see how collegiate rivalries fell at the wayside in red, white and blue. Brennan O’Neill (Duke) drove to the middle of the field and assisted Cole Herbert (North Carolina) in the final 6v6 portion of practice. Alec Stathakis (Denver) and Conor Calderone (Maryland) discussed the finer points of the faceoff in between reps. 

“It’s ‘bigger than you’ mindset,” said U.S. U21 head coach Nick Myers, who’s also the head coach at Ohio State. “That’s what we talked about yesterday before we stepped on the field for the first time in [over] 15 months. How did we get here, who are we and where are we going?” 

In many ways, instilling the team’s identity starts with communication or “talking like Team USA'' as Myers said while breaking down the “USA Clear '' on a white board. A “dude” is the utmost compliment. So is a “dog,” who does the little things primarily in the middle of the field. 

“Cole, have you taken a dog run?” he asked Cole Kirst in the midst of the full field clearing drill. 

Whereas slide calls at Michigan are “Go, Go, Go,” with Team USA it’s “Fire.”

It’s also an identity built on the interchangeability of positions. Stathakis and Calderone played offense in the build up drill. The middies switched sides in the final 6v6. All poles and midfielders were involved in a breakdown of faceoff wing play.

“You can’t get married to ‘oh, I’m a midfielder I don’t need to know the clear,” Myers informed the team. 

Myers referenced during a huddle after warmups Penn grad and 2016 USA U19 team member Tyler Dunn as someone who epitomized that prized versatility.

“That’s the beauty of a 23-man roster,” Myers said.

Still, that sense of buy-in and respect doesn’t mean chirps are nonexistent. Schriber scored his second goal of the 2021 season in a 15-11 win over Ohio State during the Big 10 Quarterfinals.

“I had to give him a little reminder here and there,” Schriber said, referring to Myers and the goal. “But it’s all fun and games.” 

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