In high school lacrosse, some teams are lucky enough to get one very talented goalie. But for Bayport-Blue Point, they were fortunate enough to have two of them. Matt Nilan and Eric Grahn are the two goaltenders for Bayport and have created an amazing duo. Nilan is a senior headed off to Towson next year and Grahn is a junior committed to Siena.
Both players are among the best goalies on Long Island, which led to the dynamic of both players splitting time in net and sharing the spotlight. Nilan said “We’ve been doing it for two years now and I think Eric will back me up on this, I think we have more fun than anybody else at practice. We’re always the two last guys out of the locker room because we got more gear to put on than everybody else and me and Eric always have a ton of fun with it”.
Throughout the year it’s been Nilan taking the first half and Grahn taking the second half. In most situations it’d feel like there is a position battle and tension between the two players. That is not the case in Bayport as both goalies seem to work extremely well off each other. Grahn, the younger netminder, mentioned how there were benefits to playing alongside senior goaltender Matt Nilan. Not only do they have fun, it seems as if they got a lot out of it. Grahn said “When I first started playing with Matty… we had different play styles, he liked to come out a lot and I think I picked up a lot of that. We like to talk a lot and talk about things we like, things we don’t like and we change up our game and critique each other. It helps and we compliment each other nicely”.
Each goalie has been outstanding, but the Phantoms didn’t start the season the way they wanted to. They suffered a couple of early season losses but bounced back tremendously with some great wins over Smithtown West and Comsewogue. The Phantoms compete in a very difficult Suffolk Class C and their schedule hasn’t been easy this season. As of late, Bayport-Blue point has had plenty of succes with picking up six straight crucial victories. Grahn and Nilan have been a big part of Bayport’s recent winning ways. They have led a Bayport defense in allowing only 6 goals per game in their current win streak.
The two netminders are the leaders on the defensive end of the field for Bayport and have been a big part of why opposing offenses have had a hard time scoring. They held the top team in Suffolk Class B within Smithtown West to just 7 goals. Nilan said “It was just playing as a team especially on the defensive end and communicating and not getting backdoored, communicating through cutters and being a unit. And then just the hustle plays from the midfield”..
Although Bayport has had recent success, they still have some obstacles in front of them. They have a very talented Sayville team to play against in the first round on May 19th. If they are successful against the Golden Flashes, they’ll most likely see the highly touted Shoreham Wading River Wildcats. Suffolk Class C features not only Shoreham Wading River, but also the Mustangs of Mount Sinai who are ranked 9th in the nation by inside lacrosse.. The goalies for Bayport are excited to potentially play against those teams who are both nationally ranked. Grahn said “It definitely motivates us, we have our own little personal battles going on. We have to fight for what’s ours, we know where we belong. We just gotta earn it”.
Make sure to follow Bayport-Blue Point’s playoff journey, which starts on May 19th when they host Sayville. The Bayport goalies certainly are one of the best duo’s on Long Island and are a must see during the playoffs.