Conor Muldoon had his growth spurt late, adding several inches and several pounds between sophomore and junior years. Now, the Garden City senior is growing on the lacrosse field, too.
Muldoon, who also played football and basketball, scored a career-high five goals to lead Garden City to a 13-4 victory over host Wantagh Tuesday in Nassau Conference B-I lacrosse.
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"These guys are my brothers, and it feels good to be able to help the team more than I did last year,'' said the 6-4, 210-pound Muldoon, who saw very limited action on the varsity as a junior. "Last year, I just concentrated on getting my lacrosse IQ up.''
It was off the charts Tuesday, moving without the ball or dodging with it. Muldoon scored the Trojans' first two goals, then put in their last goal of the third quarter and first of the fourth as Garden City (1-1) scored the last nine goals.
"I just kept moving off the ball to get my hands free,'' Muldoon said. "We have some set plays to get our shooters open.''
There were others who benefited from such maneuvers. Luke McDaid had two goals and assisted on both of Muldoon's second-half scores. Tim Schmelzinger added two goals, and Pat Gibbons, who returned from a season-long injury, contributed a goal and three assists. Dylan Beckwith had two goals and an assist for Wantagh (1-1).
"It's easier to score when the goals start coming fast,'' McDaid said. "We hadn't worked the ball around enough until today. Muldoon has a great shot and I always look for him.''
The output from Gibbons was a bonus, but not a completely unexpected one. "We're expecting him to be a key part of the offense,'' Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. "He's two-handed, can feed and shoot. And he's got one of the higher lacrosse IQs on the team.''
The Trojans showed smarts and skills in breaking open a 4-4 game. Their flurry began when Muldoon and Gibbons scored 23 seconds apart in the final minute of the first half. Defenseman Tom Wright went coast to coast to score unassisted early in the third quarter, and Muldoon drilled two from the perimeter to make it 10-4.
"Conor is a big, strong kid and he has matured,'' Finnell said. "We need that. We don't have a lot of seniors on the offensive end.''
In other words, he needs to keep growing.