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East Lyme's Liam Williams knows the secret to beating an opponent one-on-one
Liam Williams has battled his share of feisty faceoff competitors during his lacrosse career and he's found a way to beat them all at one time or another.
But there's one player that is still on his hit list.
His brother, Dan.
Growing up, the Williams brothers often squared off in the back yard. And Dan, a 2009 East Lyme graduate and former lacrosse standout, always came up with the ball.
Those sibling backyard battles helped Williams become not only the best faceoff man in the Eastern Connecticut Conference but also one of the best players. In his final season at East Lyme, he has been named The Day's 2012 All-Area Boys' Lacrosse Player of the Year.
"He's a big role model in my life," Liam Williams said. "He's, by far, my best competition. I've yet to prove that I'm better than him even though he hasn't played competitive lacrosse in three years.
"I still haven't beaten him."
Williams had fewer problems defeating ECC foes. He won an impressive 68 percent of his faceoffs this season, setting the tone for the Vikings.
It's safe to say that no one player had a bigger impact on the outcome of East Lyme's games this past season than Williams.
Whether the Vikings possessed the ball or not depended heavily on Williams.
"You don't see faceoffs in the box score," East Lyme coach Gary Wight said. "He's a critical part of our offense. Just winning possession of the ball is so big for us. He gives us an opportunity to score."
"Whoever has possession is going to win games."
The Vikings certainly won their share of games, capturing the ECC Large Division and conference tournament championships.
Williams helped propel the Vikings to a 16-4 overall record and a spot in the Class M state tournament. He had 11 goals and 31 assists to go with a team-high 148 ground balls but made his most significant contribution in the faceoff department.
For the last two years, Williams has excelled in that role. He received All-ECC Large Division and all-state first team honors. He also was selected to play in the Connecticut senior all-star game.
"As he's matured and gotten stronger, he's just been dominant," Wight said.
So what's Williams' secret to winning intense faceoff battles?
Wight credits Williams' work ethic, passion and serious approach to his craft.
Williams also can reach into his bag of clever tricks to counter whatever his opponent throws his way. Sometimes his fierce competitive drive is enough to give him the necessary edge.
He'll do whatever it takes to win his team possession of the ball, especially in big games.
"As we played stiffer competition, I really tried to step it up and get our team the ball," Williams said. "It feels good to win. It just feels good to contribute. I'm definitely proud of how well I was able to do."
This summer, Williams is playing for Team Fierce, an under-19 travel program out of East Lyme.
He'll continue his lacrosse career at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. Sean Doherty, a 2009 East Lyme graduate and friend of his brother's, plays there.
Maybe Doherty can help Williams figure out how to win his backyard battles.
"After four years of college lacrosse and facing off at that level, I'm hoping I can beat him," Williams said. "We'll have to see."