It's easy to fly under the radar with two-time Major League Lacrosse MVP Paul Rabil and league-leading scorer Rob Pannell as teammates.
He may not have the TV commercials or the magazine covers, but the Lizards' Tommy Palasek is doing his best to cement his spot as one of the top offensive threats in the MLL.
"It's hard to jump above the radar with those guys," Palasek said. "They have their endorsements, their stick lines. Their off-the-field presence is hard to top, but I'm working my way to get there. I enjoy just being able to play with them and all of the guys on our team."
Palasek, a 2008 graduate of Rocky Point, is only three goals off his career high after tallying 23 through nine games this season for the Lizards (8-1). He's fifth in scoring in the MLL and has been a key cog in an offense that leads the league with 139 goals.
He was more of a passer than a shooter early in his career, and the added ability to finish has made him even more dangerous.
"In college, you can get away with being one-dimensional a little more, but not in the MLL," Palasek said. "I think bringing that to my game and adding versatility has helped me. In high school, I really was a dodge-to-feed player. Even through the select teams in my youth, I was a player that looked to pass and create. I'm more than capable of doing that now in the MLL, but I take pride in being able to step up into different roles for the team."
The fluidity of moving between roles as feeder and finisher has been made even easier because of the long-term relationship between Palasek and the team's other offensive weapons. Palasek, Pannell and fourth-leading scorer Matt Gibson are all Long Island natives drafted into the league in 2012.
"I've been playing with Gibson since I was 12 years old," Palasek said. "I didn't get to play on as many teams with Rob, but we tried out at different places and were around each other and we have some chemistry."
The final piece of familiarity comes from coach Joe Spallina, who was Palasek's gym teacher at Rocky Point in fifth grade.
"One of the best things about the team is the chemistry we have," Palasek said. "We're so invested in each other, and that means a lot."
It will mean even more if Palasek and the entire team can bask under the bright lights of national TV on Aug. 8 in the MLL championship game.