2022 Players Top 50: #30 Connor Kelly
By Sarah Griffin
Dec 7, 2022
Connor Kelly jumped 14 spots in the Top 50 rankings since last year, and rightfully so. Not only did the dodging midfielder help bring the Waterdogs the title, Kelly’s versatility, vision, and athleticism helped will the Dogs to a win more than once this season.
In a homecoming in his state of Connecticut, it was Kelly who was the hometown hero in an overtime thriller in Fairfield back in July.
In a heated back-and-forth battle with the Chrome, attackmen Michael Sowers and Ryan Brown both went down early on prior to the second half. With temperatures of almost 100 degrees on the field and a Waterdogs’ roster plagued with the injury bug, the Dogs showed off their next man up mentality.
Chrome rookie Brendan Nichtern quickly erased the Waterdogs' lead entering the fourth quarter with two back-to-back goals. Coming down to the wire, the Chrome needed to hold on to the ball just for a minute or so longer to pull off the victory. Of course, as we all know, a minute on the clock is still a lot of lacrosse.
With 46 seconds remaining in the final frame, Kelly ripped off a two-point attempt from deep. Sean Sconone made the stop but Kelly quickly recovered his own rebound. Flying in, he stuffed a bouncer by Sconone and it was the hometown kid who would send it to overtime.
From there on, as Waterdogs head coach Andy Copelan said, “you just can’t make up a better script.”
As big of a moment as it was for the Connecticut kid to win it in front of a hometown crowd, the all-around team effort by the Dogs in responding to adversity made for maybe not the prettiest of victories, but certainly a special win.
That next man up mentality displayed by Kelly and the Waterdogs in Fairfield is exactly what champion teams are made of.
#50-#26 of the 2022 Players Top 50 are out now. Check back tomorrow for #26-#21.