Can a team be competitive without a solid goalie?
YES - lacrosse goalie is the most over rated position in any sport, kid only has to have nerves of steal and high tolerance for pain, the best goalie is usually the guy with the great defense in front of him that make the offence take bad shots. The game is won and lost on face offs and on ground balls (possessions), the only way a goalie has a huge outcome on a game is with his clears and directing his defense a good shot will beat a good goalie every time.
No clue about the game whatsoever. Goalie and faceoff are 2 most important players on the field. Goalies need fast hands, fast feet a knowledge of the game. Greater than any player. Goalues hurl themselves in harms way with less pads than other players on the field. They don't wear shoulder pads or elbow pads. Their gloves are useless. A lacrosse goalie faces shots from multiple planes. High to low, low to high, etc. All while being screened. The lacrosse goal is 6x6 versus a hockey goalie which is 3x6. Hockey goalie faces shots from one plane off the ice and they wear more pads than the stay puft marshmallow man. Players in lacrosse have more hold and control of the ball than ever before and can do more than any other sport with the ball in their stick.
Why do you think there are so few goalies as early commits. Coaches don't dare rush to pick one. Goalie is like a fine wine needs to fully mature and develop before being chosen. You can take an athletically gifted kid and put a long pole in their hand and they will excel. Now put a goalie stick and they wouldn't have the faintest idea of what to do. Arch a 5 step or a 7, high arch low arch, pipe to pipe movement, clears, defensive sets, the offensive plays of the other team, calling slides 1st and 2nd all while trying to stop a ball moving at over 100mph.