GORHAM — Carter Landry flicks his right foot quickly toward the right post of the lacrosse goal. Without a flinch or hesitation, he deflects the hard rubber ball away from its intended target with his instep.

“I don’t even feel it anymore,” said Landry, the senior goalie for the Gorham High boys’ lacrosse team.

It takes a special combination of quickness, game awareness and disregard for pain to be a boys’ lacrosse goalie. It’s a position most players try to avoid, considering goalies wear less equipment than other players but are asked to step in front of shots fired from crazy angles and routinely traveling upward of 70 miles per hour.

“I give Carter a lot of credit for stepping in there,” said Gorham’s rugged senior defenseman, Mat Anderson. “Honestly, I’d probably be a little scared if I was in there. They’re just standing there and they’ll take the shots. You have to have another mindset if you’re going to play goalie.”

And teams with good goalies are usually good teams. That’s because in a position where a 60 percent save rate is considered excellent, good goalies stop the shots they’re supposed to and also make the occasional momentum-swinging tough save.

Landry, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s 2016 All-State goalie, is one of those game-changing goalies. Next year, he’ll be playing for Widener University, a solid Division III program in Chester, Pennsylvania. He started out as a midfielder in middle school and played goalie for the first time in an eighth grade end-of-season tournament when many players tried new positions for fun.

CHECKING ALL THE BOXES

Very quickly, Gorham Coach Dan Soule saw in Landry the makings of a future goalie: quick hands and feet and a lack of fear.

“Hearing Coach Soule and other coaches say you could have a future with that, you could be pretty good, is something I like to hear,” Landry said.

By the third game of Landry’s freshman season, he was Gorham’s starting goalie. In his first start, he gave up 18 goals to Cheverus “and I think I made three saves.”

It was a blunt introduction to a fact of life for a lacrosse goalie: Good shooters in good positions will score and, sometimes, goals come in bunches.

“You’re gonna get scored on,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Barton, a former goalie. “You can learn from a shot that just went by you, but you have to be able to hit the reset button. There’s nothing you can do about the goal that’s already gone in.”

Landry was reminded of that fact in a season-opening 15-9 loss against defending Class A champ Scarborough. Several of the Red Storm’s goals glanced off Landry.

“It was a matter of three or four inches on some of them, and instead of being inside the near post they would have been saved,” Soule said.

“I just needed to remember to take it one stop, one shot, at a time,” Landry said.

Landry said he’s improved at stepping toward shots to reduce a shooting angle and using his whole body as a shield.

“A save’s a save, no matter if it hits you or goes right into your net,” said Landry, who has helped Gorham to an 8-2 start this season.

HAVE NO FEAR

Goalies wear less equipment than other lacrosse players and considerably less than a hockey goalie or a baseball catcher. Shin pads like a catcher and even normal elbow pads slow and restrict movement. Lacrosse goalies make do with a helmet that has a throat protector, lacrosse gloves, a thin chest protector and a protective cup.

“It’s not as bad as you might think once you get in there and you get comfortable,” said Liam Tucker, a senior goalie for Falmouth (8-1) who was a key factor in the team’s run to the 2016 Class B title.

SIZE ALONE ISN’T ENOUGH

Goalies come in a variety of sizes. At 5-foot-8, Tucker is four inches shorter than Landry. He started playing the position in sixth grade as an emergency fill-in for an absent teammate. Tucker said he immediately liked the feeling of being the last line of defense with the ability to change the flow of a game.

“A lot of people think you just stick the unathletic kid in the net, or get the biggest kid and let him just get hit by a lot of shots,” said Bowdoin College assistant coach Max Silberlicht, a former goalie at Division I Hobart College. “I was more of a large parking cone who got hit a lot. But you have to be athletic as hell, and that’s something (Landry) has through the roof.”

“If you’re a smaller guy, you better play your angles well. If you’re a bigger guy, you better have quick hands and quick feet,” Silberlicht said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig