Choosing the right lacrosse goalie head is important if you want to be the best player possible. Each head has a different shape, weight, and other factors that make it unique.
We surveyed college lacrosse goalies around the country to make a definitive list of the BEST goalie heads on the market, so you can choose the head that works for you. Read along to find all the best lacrosse goalie heads on the market today.
The four main factors that differentiate goalie heads from one another are shape, weight, stiffness, and difficulty in stringing it.
EAST COAST DYES IMPACT
The first head I will overview is the East Coast Dyes Impact that came out just recently this summer.
ECD spent over two years to make this head, and in my opinion, was well worth the wait. ECD started out with a prototype in the summer of 2020 and continued fine-tuning it until this summer when it was released.
GoalieSmith, one of the best lacrosse goalie training programs in the country helped ECD develop the head by getting numerous high school and college goalies to test the prototype out and fine-tune it.
Former Syracuse Goaltender and current member of Team Canada used a prototype of the Impact in a game this past fall against Team USA. The final product was used in the Premier Lacrosse training camp by Redwood’s goalie Tim Troutner (HPU ’19).
ECD and GoalieSmith wanted to essentially make a head that fulfilled the wants of every goalie including, face shape, durability, lightweight, and handling the ball well.
The Impact is unique to other goalie heads as it currently is the lightness head on the market by using SL-105 plastic, even though the head is very light the stiffness factor is still there.
Personally, I’ve been using the Impact since the summer and have played in tons of men’s league games and have had two full weeks of fall ball practices and haven’t had any problems with the head’s durability.
The SL-105 plastic is a huge game changer in my opinion I’ve noticed my hand speed has improved since switching from the STX Eclipse II. I also find it very easy to throw long outlet passes, this is very beneficial when clearing the ball. The head makes it very easy to scoop ground balls on the run.
The shape of the Impact is a hybrid mix between the STX Eclipse 2 and the Warrior Nemesis 3. The wide surface area of the head mimics the Nemesis 3, a key design to help make more saves.
The throat grip is very similar to the Eclipse II, it allows for easy hand positioning with the top hand. Once again this leads to more saves due to a quicker top hand.
Also due to the wide surface are it’s very easy to control rebounds on fast shots.
Unstrung the Impact cost $109.99 (Unstrung).
STX ECLIPSE 2
The original Eclipse came out 25 years ago in 1999 and dominated the market for a very long time. As STX continued to experiment with goalie’s heads they came out with the STX Shield.
Eventually by popular demand in 2017 just 20 years after the original Eclipse came out STX released the Eclipse II.
I remember when I got my hands on it for the first time, I fell in love with it. At the time I believe it was the best goalie head on the market.
My first experience with the head was at a tournament in Virginia during my sophomore fall of high school. It was probably one of my better performances that fall, and I can attribute that to Eclipse II.
Some of its cool features are the throat grip technology that tons of heads have now. Like I said previously about the ECD Impact the grip on the throat makes it easier to have a faster top and this leads to more saves.
Regarding the side wall technology makes it very easy to string, there are also lots of holes on the sidewalls, so this also for tons of creativity and variation when stringing. It’s very easy to string the Eclipse II and is a big reason why tons of PLL and Division I goalies use it.
Another huge reason Eclipse II is one of the more popular heads on the goalie market is the stiffness of the head while still not weight a ton. The Eclipse II weighs 11.4 ounces, which is only a 0.2-ounce difference from the original Eclipse.
The shape of the head allows for an easy scoop on ground balls and great surface area to make those insight saves.
Most goalies in the PLL use the Eclipse II and they are, Kyle Bernlohr (Whipsnakes), Adam Ghitelman (Archers), Jack Kelly (Redwoods), Nick Marrocco (Cannons), and Jack Concannon (Atlas).
Just about every college goalie from DI to D3 use the Eclipse II, some guys that use it are Sr. Skylar Wahlund (Ohio State), Sr. Chayse Ierlan (Cornell), who made it to the Championship game against Maryland, and Sr. Liam Entenmann (Notre Dame), who’s had tons of success with his time at Notre Dame racking up tons of accolades.
There are only a few criticisms of the head, the first one is that Eclipse II becomes very flexible after being in the sun for a while. This can make playing in summer recruiting tournaments hard at times, especially when playing on turf.
Overall, the Eclipse is a great head and costs $109.99 (Unstrung)
STRINGKING MARK 2 G
StringKing burst onto the scene in 2011 and is based on the West Coast with its headquarters being in Los Angeles, California. With tons of professional lacrosse being sponsored.
Matt Gibson (Yale’12, Lizards, Blaze, and Outlaws), Blaze Riorden (Albany ‘16, Rattlers, Wings, Chaos), Thomas Kelley (UVA ’11, Outlaws, Lizards, Chaos, Cannons), and Connor Farrell (LIU’19, Chrome).
The Mark 2 G goalie head became very popular in the market after Blaze Riorden made the switch to it after using the very popularized Eclipse II.
Blaze broke out on to the scene in the PLL after being an understudy to John Galloway. (Syracuse’11, Rattlers, Chrome) in the MLL.
Riorden is 3x recipient of the Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year, a 2x PLL All-Star, and won Jim Brown Most Valuable Player.
The head shape is unique with a narrower sidewall. This allows for more accurate outlet passes on clears. The head shape also allows for an easier scoop when picking up ground balls.
The StringKing Mark 2 G cost $90 (Unstrung).
WARRIOR NEMESIS 3
In the lacrosse industry Warrior is one of the well-known bluebloods. Warrior has made two other Nemesis prior to Nemesis 3.
The STX Eclipse and Warrior Nemesis were the two of the top goalie heads on the market for the longest time, but since new technological advances have been made to goalie heads other companies have made the market more competitive.
The Nemesis was a very popular choice of head from the early 2000s to 2010 in the MLL. Tons of colleges sponsored by Warrior used them a few powerhouse programs that used them and still do are Princeton and Denver.
Currently, now Warrior Nemesis is used by two Canadian Netminders in the PLL, Dillon Ward (Bellarmine’13, Team Canada, Monmouth National Lacrosse League, Outlaws, Nationals, Chaos, Waterdogs) and Brett Dobson (St. Bonaventure’22, Archers).
Ward has an extremely successful pro career in the NLL as an indoor and as a field goalie. This past season he won the NLL Championship with the Colorado Monmouth. In game three of the series against the Buffalo Bandits, he had 55 saves, setting an NLL record.
He continued his success in the outdoor game by capping off an amazing season by winning the PLL Championship against the Chaos. In the game, ward made many back-to-back highlights reel saves.
The Nemesis 3 has lots of surface area across the head which gives goalies the ability to make more saves and have good rebound control.
Just like the Impact and the Eclipse II the Nemesis has the throat grip technology and like I said previously this allows netminders to have a quicker top-hand speed which equals more saves.
The price of the Nemesis 3 is $100 (Unstrung).
After doing thorough research and playing with a majority of these during my lacrosse career and using the 4 categories shape, weight, stiffness, and difficulty in stringing it.
1. ECD IMPACT
I currently use this head, it’s easily the best on the market for any goalie from just picking it up to being a pro. It has all the intangibles to have success from making more saves with its top-of-the-line technology.
Allows for precise pin point outlet passes when clearing the ball from point A to point B. The hybrid head shape makes it very easy to pick up ground balls and have great rebound control.
2. STX ECLIPSE
Coming in second is the Eclipse II, a very popular to head use currently and is heavily used by all D1 to D3 goalies and pros as well. I was a big fan of this head until the Impact came out, due to the weight of the Eclipse II.
The SL-105 plastic is very light and combined with the ECD impact mesh and carbon 2.0 shaft is the lightest goalie stick on the market. Don’t get me wrong Eclipse II is still a great head. It has great durability and is very easy to string just about any pattern you want to use.
3. WARRIOR NEMESIS 3
Finishing third the Nemesis 3, a very reliable head and great for making tight saves. The only criticism is some patterns of stringing from personal experience can make the pocket have too much bag and cause the ball to short hop on passes, which can lead to problems clearing the ball on long passes. Besides this one flaw, it has decent rebound control depending on what kind of mesh you combine with the head. Overall, it is used at the collegiate level by tons of great goalies including defending D1 National Champion goalie Logan McNaney of Maryland.
4. STRINGKING MARK 2 G
At fourth the StringKing Mark 2 G, this head has had a little bit of circulation in the time it’s been on the market, popularized by Blaze Riorden’s play with it and the commercials he does for StringKing.
The main reason this head finished last in my rankings is that it’s the least commonly used goalie head out of the 4 I mention. However, don’t knock it till you get your hands on one, it’s gaining great traction at the youth and high school levels due to the ability it allows to make long passes and pick up ground balls.
The head is great for goalies who like to be active out of the cage and push transition in the clear. The rebound control can be good depending on the mesh, preferable I’d pair it with ECD impact mesh because the StringKing mesh wears away after taking a ton of shots. This can be an annoyance because having to always break in a new stick after a month or two can be sometimes frustrating, especially during the season.
You could save a lot of money on the mesh by purchasing one of the more reliable and durable meshes. I personally just switched of to the Impact and it has been a game changer, I’ve seen lots of shots with it, and it hasn’t even started to ripple or fray.
On a personal level as a current college having a reliable stick can be a confidence booster when playing because there is less of a worry about always having to make changes before practice or a big-time game with lots on the line.
To quickly sum up this debrief find a head that works for your specific needs as a goalie and you’re playing style. Some heads work for some netminders well and don’t work the best for others. So don’t be afraid to experiment with new gear.
Written by College Lacrosse Goalie James Czarnaski.