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Senior goalkeeper Patrick Burkinshaw during the game against Harvard at Franklin Field on April 16. Credit: Borna Saeednia

Although he won a collegiate national championship at another school, Penn men’s lacrosse senior goalkeeper Patrick Burkinshaw has become a staple piece for the Red and Blue.

In 2019, Burkinshaw was a freshman at the University of Virginia, and in the brief time he was there, the Cavaliers won an NCAA title. Shortly thereafter, Burkinshaw entered the transfer portal and found a new home at Penn, where he has become one of the best goalies in the country.

As a child, however, Burkinshaw played multiple sports with the influence of his two older brothers and his father, and only around middle school did he realize that his true sporting passion stood between the pipes.

“Growing up, I played football, hockey, (and) baseball. Lacrosse really didn't become a thing for me until I was in about fifth (or) sixth grade,” Burkinshaw said. "And it was there where I played midfield and attack, and the next couple years in seventh and eighth grade where I was starting to play goalie.”

The Madison, Conn. native played at the national powerhouse Brunswick School during his high school days, which meant that he had to leave home at 15 years old to attend preparatory school. But that extra push afforded him the opportunity to play with some of the best lacrosse players in the country. As a senior, his hard work paid off, as he was rated the No. 12 overall recruit in the Class of 2018 by Inside Lacrosse, the No. 1 goalie in the Class of 2018 by Inside Lacrosse, and 2018 Under Armour All-American, one of the most prestigious awards for high school lacrosse seniors.

“I really couldn't imagine being where I am now if I didn't go to Brunswick,” Burkinshaw said. “I had 25+ D-I lacrosse players on my team, and it was from the start, when I was 15 years old, some of the best lacrosse I've ever been around.”

The senior goalkeeper originally committed to play at the University of Virginia and ended up playing for a season with the Cavaliers. In his time with the ‘Hoos, he appeared in 11 games with two starts over the course of the 2019 season, when the team was crowned NCAA champions. After his freshman year, he made the path-altering decision to enter the transfer portal to find a new home. What he found was a new home nestled in University City that, according to him, was exactly what he was hoping for.

“I was able to go to commit to UVA when I was a sophomore (in high school) and then end up going for a year my freshman year of college, and it was an awesome year,” Burkinshaw said. “But I ultimately decided to come to Penn my sophomore year, and without a doubt, (it) has been the best decision I've ever made.”

The Red and Blue have seen an increase in its success since he joined the team. Burkinshaw currently holds a 0.536 save percentage, which has him sitting tied with Princeton goalie Erik Peters for No. 11 in the nation.

Burkinshaw has been playing exceptionally against Ivy League foes, with 49 saves over three recent games against Brown, Harvard, and Dartmouth. This recent success has catapulted him into No. 1 in the Ivy League in saves per game, as well as No. 6 in the nation.

While his path to the Red and Blue did not take the traditional route, he has loved every minute of his time at Penn and looks forward to joining the prestigious group of Penn men’s lacrosse alumni. 

“I didn't really understand it my first couple years, what it means. A lot of alumni come back and say this program means everything to them,” Burkinshaw said. “It's kind of crazy to think about an alum who is 20 to 30 years out of college that still thinks back on his college days, but now as a senior, I realized that I'm going to be the exact same way.”

“It's such a brotherhood that you don't really get anywhere else,” Burkinshaw said. “And I've played for another college lacrosse program. This program really emphasizes that this is your home. Today, tomorrow, forever, and you always have (the) Penn lacrosse family that has your back.” 

As Penn still has a couple of regular season games left — and potentially a couple of postseason matchups — Quaker fans will likely see a little bit more of Burkinshaw rocking the No. 42 Penn jersey in the net.

And if his recent play is any indication, they should feel confident with him protecting Penn's goal.

All statistics accurate as of April 25.