Just before the start of the third quarter of high school lacrosse games, most P.A. announcers glance toward the goals to make sure the same goalies are trotting towards them. A different number in the cage leads to a scramble for the roster and a rush to get the new netminder’s name out before faceoff.
But P.A. announcers can relax when the Dominion boys’ lacrosse team is in town, because the phrase “Renick in goal for Dominion” almost constantly applies. While the Titans almost always switch goalies at the half, they don’t switch families: Senior Christian normally gives way to sophomore brother John Paul, and Dominion doesn’t miss a beat.
So far this season, Christian and John Paul have split time in the cage, a combination that’s helped Dominion to a 5-3 record against a schedule that’s pitted the Loudoun County school against much larger Northern Virginia competition. Christian brings experience built by two years as the Titans’ starter, and now helps groom John Paul (J.P.), an arrangement the brothers agree plays to their strengths.
“At first it was a little weird at the beginning of the season,” J.P admitted after Monday’s win over Woodgrove, “but now I think the two-goalie system is really working for us. He’s a first-half goalie, then I come out solid in the second half, so it’s worked out well.”
The brothers, who work with the same goalie coach and have practiced together “since they were little,” say their strengths complement one another, and that splitting time hasn’t led to any animosity between them.
“I’d say it’s actually uncompetitive,” J.P. said.
“When he does well, I do badly; when I do badly, he does well,” Christian agreed. “I’ve never seen us play well on the same day.”
Standing nearby, Dominion senior attackman Jack Flynn shook his head and laughed at the Renicks, disagreeing with the notion that they never shared a good day.
“Okay, maybe not an exceptional game on the same day,” J.P. qualified.
The Renicks hope the family’s control of the Dominion crease lasts deep into this year’s Virginia state playoffs. Previously boxed out of legitimate state title contender status by the fact that Virginia only played one state championship for schools of all sizes, Dominion now moves from underdog small school to one of the favorites to take home Virginia’s inaugural 1A-5A boys’ lacrosse state championship.
“I did like it last year, when we were kind of the last small school standing,” J.P. said.
“Yeah, but it gives us a better chance,” Christian chimed in. “Now we have a chance to get all the way through.”