Syosset sophomore Alex Concannon carries a label on and off the lacrosse field that he said works to his advantage and disadvantage: he's an early-commit.
The underclassman attack verbally committed to Johns Hopkins University last summer, after finishing his second varsity season (he played as an eighth-grader). Concannon said he likes the respect teams now show him by matching him up against top defenders, yet he's fully aware of the catch in the deal.
"It puts a big target on my back," he said. "People are going to say what they're going to say and you really find out who your real friends are. But at the same time, I like the competition and going against better players."
Concannon has thrived this season under those circumstances and with two regular-season games left and the Conference I playoffs looming, he believes he can only improve. As Syosset's primary option, Concannon has helped lead the Braves, the defending Nassau Class A champions, to a 9-4 overall record with a team-high 27 goals.
"Alex has been tremendous," Syosset coach John Calabria said. "He's making our other attackmen better because they're open and left with room because of the attention Alex gets. He's been a tremendous part of our success."
Calabria added that Concannon is a sophomore who can handle the pressures of being an early-commit, which in his case includes knowing which college he'll be playing lacrosse for three years in advance while not getting caught in arrogance or overwhelmed by that fact. Calabria attributed that to Concannon's willingness to improve, which was evident after a recent loss to Massapequa, the first-place Conference I team.
Concannon didn't have his best game April 30 against Massapequa in a rematch of last year's Nassau A championship. He was unable to shake-off defenders, his dodging admittedly wasn't great, and he missed a wide-open shot, man-up.
"After the game against 'Pequa, I was ticked off," Concannon recalled. "I remember I just talked to my dad in the car. I barely did my homework. I just went in the backyard and started shooting and took my anger out on the cage. I was so mad, but it happens."
He's confident it won't again if the teams match up later this season. Concannon may know where he's attending school in a few years, but right now he's focused on the weeks ahead.
"When it comes to the county championship we have to come up in the clutch," he said. "When we won the county championship last year, that was the best feeling in my life. Just to win the county championship again . . . If we do that, I'll be the happiest kid on the field."