From the perspective of Bobby Buell, a Seaford boys lacrosse captain, it's hard to overstate what Danny Connell could mean to the Vikings this season.
Connell, who played well in a limited role as a sophomore last year, is being asked to lead the offense as a junior attack.
Latest HS sports stories
"Danny Connell, man, wow . . . He's going to be pretty big for us this year," Buell said. "He contributed last year and he's going to contribute a lot more this year."
Right away, apparently.
Connell scored six goals, including four in the second half, and added one assist to lead visiting Seaford over Division, 11-8, in the non-league opener for both teams Monday.
"It was a good day," said the lefthanded-shooting Connell, who scored 18 goals last year. "I had to work my way into getting opportunities to start last year and I eventually earned that. This year, I think I'm expected to help us a bit more offensively."
Connell scored the go-ahead goal when he used a spin move to break away from a defender while behind the net. He then came around the left side of the cage and got the ball past goalie Brendan Mahaer (eight saves) to give Seaford an 8-7 lead with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
Connell cashed in from close range again early in the fourth quarter and then assisted on Buell's goal with 9:39 left to make it 10-7.
Hunter Nuzzi cut it to 10-8 with about five minutes left, but Division couldn't get any closer because of the strong play of Seaford's defense, which was led by Ryan Gibbons, who made 11 saves. John Schaller forced a key takeaway with 1:40 left that led to another goal from Connell to seal it.
Frank Kirk, who scored 50 goals last season, had five goals and one assist for the Blue Dragons. Kirk knotted it at 7 with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
"Frank's a strong player who can take a hit and still find a way to finish," Gibbons said. "But after they tied it in the third, our defense realized we had to start getting the ball back for our offense."
Connell, in his newly enhanced role, said he realized something, too.
"I realized the importance of winning this game and starting the season with a win," he said, "so I knew what I had to do in the second half."