What’s in a name, you ask?
Well, if the name is Connor, you could be talking about three starters on the Riverhead High School boys lacrosse team who share that first name. Senior midfielder Connor Grauer, junior attackman Connor Batjer and junior midfielder Connor Kalmus are integral pieces in Riverhead’s plans this season. Other than that, there isn’t much those three have in common.
“One’s a small lefty shooter, the other one’s a large righty shooter and the other one’s a lefty feeder,” said coach Vic Guadagnino, referring in order to Batjer, Grauer and Kalmus.
With all those Connors running around, do things get confusing sometimes during practices when calling out names?
Not at all.
“We go Grauer, Batjer, Kalmus,” Guadagnino said. “Connor is never even mentioned.”
To take the name game even further, Riverhead also has two Dans — senior midfielder Dan Concannon and junior midfielder Dan Mastropaolo. Furthermore, the Blue Waves also have a Luke (Zuhoski, a senior midfielder) and a Lucas (Cioch, a sophomore attackman).
Wednesday was a good day for the Connors, not to mention Riverhead as a whole as it trounced Copiague, 16-2, in a Suffolk County Division I game at the Pulaski Sports Complex in Riverhead.
The three Connors scored and/or assisted on eight of Riverhead’s 11 first-half goals. Batjer led the charge. He scored or assisted on five of the first seven goals for his three goals and two assists. Kalmus had two goals and one assist. Grauer had a goal and an assist.
Riverhead (1-1, 1-0), which lost 11-9 to Bayport-Blue Point in its season opener four days earlier, outshot Copiague, 22-2, in the first half. That count reached 29-9 by game’s end.
Aside from Batjer and Kalmus, Kamryn Gill (two goals) was the only other Riverheader with multiple goals as the goal scoring was divided among 12 players. Caleb Zuhoski (two assists), Dalton Lucas, Cioch, C.J. Dorr, Luke Zuhoski, Dean Chapman, Jonathan Kenny and Concannon also found the net. James Salgado didn’t score, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort. He launched seven shots.
Riverhead’s domination was such that it wasn’t until the game was over seven minutes old when Copiague (0-3, 0-2) finally advanced the ball into Blue Waves’ territory. It was 14-0 before Aaron Daniels put in the first of his two goals for Copiague 3 minutes, 1 second into the third quarter.
Riverhead goalies William Burkowsky and Ryan Ott split the game and were hardly bothered. They were credited with a save each.
Asked what Riverhead’s approach was in the game, Kalmus answered: “We can’t have any turnovers, get every ground ball, get after every play, try to work the ball around and get our backups in. Everyone gets touches. Everyone has to do their job in these games.”
Even in blowouts, there is value.
“Limit your mistakes so that you’re working like you’re in a practice and things are going correctly,” Guadagnino said. “Kids who are newer to the game or don’t get a lot of time in the game, you want to give them as much opportunity as possible to try to do something correct to earn more playing time in bigger games. So, it’s more like a showcase for some of the second-string guys to earn a possibility of more minutes with the first string.”
The game was tuneup for Riverhead. The Blue Waves, seeded ninth in the division, have a big game Tuesday against seventh-seeded West Islip.
“We have some offensive firepower,” Guadagnino said. “We need to build some confidence and stability as a team on defense. We just need to be stronger in between the lines, turn the ball over a little less and keep control.”
Having three guys named Connor helps.
Photo caption: Riverhead attackman Lucas Cioch protecting the ball from a stick check by Copiague defender Nasheem Nero. (Credit: Bob Liepa)