New London — Beaten up and bloodied, Adam Grillo gingerly walked off the field near the end of a lopsided win on Wednesday.
Grillo went down in pain after taking a shot to the mid-section from a frustrated Lyndon State defender that he had torched to set up Shane Sullivan's goal.
He already sported a bloody cut on one leg from earlier in the game.
No one would have blamed Grillo if he sat out the last two minutes of the Mitchell College men's lacrosse team's 14-1 rout.
Not a chance.
The fiercely competitive Grillo went back in to hand out and receive more punishment. He delivered a check that forced a turnover.
"It's tough to keep me off the field," Grillo said. "I'm a senior, that's where I want to be."
Grillo, a Waterford High School graduate, has been a pillar for the program during his career. A three-year captain, he'll leave as Mitchell's all-time leading scorer.
He rarely comes off the field.
"He doesn't want to stop," Mitchell coach Derek Marks said. "He gives it all he's got 100 percent of the time. He wants to be in there for us every second of the game."
"... He's definitely a very tough player who takes hits all the time. You saw him coming off (the field). His shin is bleeding. His elbow is bleeding. He's having trouble breathing. But that's just how he is."
Grillo showed off his toughness, determination and lethal scoring touch on Wednesday, scoring five goals and setting up two others for a season-high seven points. He ranks first on the team in goals (16) and is tied for first in assists with five.
Playing the attack position, Grillo sets up in the danger zone where he's always primed to quickly catch and fire a laser past a helpless goalie.
"I love to grip it and rip it," Grillo said. "I just love to shoot."
He also takes his share of body blows. That's fine with Grillo, who's not afraid of delivering a few shots of his own. "It comes with the position," Grillo said.
He also scores in the respect department. His teammates all look up to him, according to Marks, who says Grillo also sets a good example off the field by working hard in the class room.
His leadership skills are really in demand this season with a team loaded with underclassmen. His boundless energy and enthusiasm rub off on his teammates.
"I have a really big heart," Grillo said. "I'm really passionate about what I do, whether we're practicing or playing a game."
Only three more games remain this season for the Mariners (3-6). Marks will probably have to pry the stick out of Grillo's hand once his career ends. A physical education major, Grillo plans to teach someday.
He's not ready to walk away from the sport yet. And that's fine with Marks who wants to add Grillo to his coaching staff next season.
"I would love to get into coaching because I'm definitely not ready to put a stick down for good," Grillo said. "It came too quick. It's been awesome for me. I couldn't ask for anything more."
Grillo is just one of several former Eastern Connecticut Conference players on the roster. Freshman Jordan Cook, a Fitch graduate, had three goals and three assists Wednesday while Sullivan had four goals and an assist and goalie Peter Eshenfelder made four saves. Both Sullivan and Eshenfelder attended Waterford.