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Matt Gibson thriving since returning to play for the Lizards

Matt Gibson of the New York Lizards looks

Matt Gibson of the New York Lizards looks on during the national anthem prior to the game against the Ohio Machine at James M. Shuart Stadium on April 12, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

Matt Gibson is home again and thriving for the Lizards.

The attack and Chaminade graduate returned to the team last summer, and is fourth on the 7-0 Lizards in goals (14) this season.

Gibson was an all-star in his rookie campaign with the Lizards in 2012, scoring 18 goals to go along with 15 assists. His 2013 campaign was cut short by a season-ending concussion -- he had nine points in six games before he sustained the injury.

The following offseason, Gibson was traded to the Denver Outlaws, but they released him after he appeared in two games. He then rejoined the Lizards later in the season, scoring seven goals in six games in 2014, a stretch that saw the Lizards go 5-1.

"It's been great," Gibson, a Point Lookout native, said of his return to the Lizards. "I was sad to get traded to Denver, but [Lizards coach] Joe Spallina called me and said he was interested in bringing me back to New York. I was thrilled."

"It's great to be back playing near my family," he added, but also said he was happy to be reunited with old teammates. "It's definitely a very friendly place and a good environment. You don't get that everywhere."

Gibson's on-field role has changed somewhat from when he was at Yale and from his rookie season with the Lizards, as he is now playing off the ball more. Given that the Lizards' offense features playmakers, including Smithtown native Rob Pannell (19 goals, 16 assists) and Paul Rabil (18 goals, 12 assists), Gibson said his new role suits him well.

"I've been playing as more of a finisher," he said. "It's new for me. I've really enjoyed it. It's a product of having maybe the two best players on the planet drawing the attention. I find myself open a lot, and the other players on the offense are awesome as well."

Gibson has made the most of these opportunities, becoming one of the team's most efficient scorers. His 14 goals have come on 34 shots, giving him a 41.2 shooting percentage, and he leads all Lizards with double-digit shot totals this season.

It's good to be home.

Up next:The Lizards host the Florida Launch (1-6) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

New York Sports