When it comes to lacrosse Matt Gavin likes to aim high. He chose North Carolina to play college lacrosse, after initially committing to Duke. Those brand-name programs — and others — wanted him for his ability to score, and until this season, Gavin preferred shooting for the top corners.
Now, the Manhasset senior has lowered his aim but not his goals. “I was becoming predictable, goalies knew I usually shot high,” Gavin said after scoring five goals Wednesday, four of them on low shots, all in the first half of host Manhasset’s comfortable 14-6 victory over Carey (3-3) on an unseasonably cool, damp day.
“It’s definitely been a learning curve this year,” said Gavin, who missed three games with a concussion but still has a team-leading 27 goals for the Chiefs (4-1 in Nassau B-I). “Today I went low with my shots.”
Gavin scored the first goal of the game on a low bouncer in the second minute and exploded with four goals plus an assist in the second quarter when Manhasset outscored Carey 7-0 to take an 11-2 halftime lead. Gavin and the rest of the Chiefs’ top attack unit sat out the entire second half.
Gavin scored from in close and from the wing, but his most impressive goal came when he took a feed in the slot from Jack Keogh (three assists) and made a series of dazzling ball fakes before finishing. “I was just trying to get the best angle,” he said. “I wound up faking high and shooting low.”
Manhasset coach Bill Cherry said that Gavin had been off-target earlier in the season but, “He’s in a groove now. His best skill is his quickness but he’s got great vision, too. And he’s very slippery. He was an outstanding basketball player and I’d say he’s the best athlete in the school.”
One of the spectators yesterday could very much appreciate Gavin’s one-time court skills. St. John’s coach Chris Mullin watched his son, senior Liam Mullin, score his fourth goal of the season in the second quarter. “I like the sport a lot,” the former St. John’s star said. “My older son, Sean, played it in California and Liam followed. It was tough for him to move cross-country for his senior year but the kids and the coaches have been really wonderful.”
Mullin added, “Lacrosse is a lot like basketball: spacing, draw and kick, hit the open man.”
And, as Gavin demonstrated, finding different ways to score.