Mavromatis Brothers Ready for Final Run Together
|Corey (left) and Carter
Mavromatis are separated by four years, but look the same, have the
same game and share the same attitude. "Those kids never make you
unhappy," said Hampden-Sydney coach Ray Rostan. "They
never have a down day. If they have a down day, you wouldn't know
it. They come in, smile and work hard."
© Scott Harris/Hampden-Sydney Athletics
Carter Mavromatis has a stress ball in the center console of his car; you know, those memory-foam orbs that supposedly whisk away angst with a couple of squeezes. On his drive back to Hampden-Sydney from his home in Virginia Beach earlier this month, Mavromatis had that ball in a death grip.
As a pre-dental major, it's somewhat understandable, but all of the agitation Mavromatis was feeling was due to the impending lacrosse season.
"I was sweating coming back from Christmas break just thinking about the exciting games we have coming up: the Roanokes, Lynchburgs, and W&Ls," Mavromatis said in his standard coastal twang. "I'm pumped. I'm up for the challenge, for sure."
The senior middie is typically known for his laid-back, beach attitude, but as one of the key cogs in the Tiger machine that has sky-high expectations this spring, he can't help but get excited about the prospects that this season hold. It will be extra special for Mavromatis because he'll have a very familiar face on the field with him – his younger brother Corey, a freshman this year.
He's familiar to Carter, but the rest of the players and coaches on the team feel like they know Corey, as well. That's because he's basically a replica of his older brother. They are even confused with each other on campus with roughly the same build – 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, or so – and looks.
"Around here we're getting that all the time, people saying we look like twins," Carter said. "From our eyes, we just sort of say, 'What?' But we get that all the time."
"Corey is just like Carter, other than fact that he is right-handed," said Hampden-Sydney head coach Ray Rostan. "Corey is the same kid. He comes in and he smiles. Those kids never make you unhappy. They never have a down day. If they have a down day, you wouldn't know it. They come in, smile and work hard."
Where they appear as identical twins – or at least mirror images – is when they step on the field.
"We have our differences, but from me growing up going to his games, watching what he did and what made him successful, I would try those things in my practices and games, and I found that they made me successful, too," Corey said. "I grew up watching him and mimicking what he was doing."
Unlike some brother combinations that compete over everything imaginable, the Brothers Mavromatis have a more laid-back relationship. "For the most part, we've been really close friends rather than brothers," Corey said. The only time the two would really get heated was when they competed against each other growing up, whether it was in soccer, basketball or lacrosse.
"We had the brother duel once in a while, but it was mainly just feeding off each other," Carter said. "He was someone who I could actually play one-on-one. My senior and junior year of high school, kids my age wouldn't put up as good a one-on-one battle as Corey would in ninth grade. He has great athletic ability. I just grew up playing with him and getting better at whatever it was."
Said Corey: "I remember when my brother was playing JV basketball and I would just go and hang out at practice. Their coach would grab me and say, 'Guard your brother and foul him as much as you want to.' We'd get after it. I wasn't always playing by the rules because I was a lot smaller, but it definitely helped him and it definitely helped me toughen up."
The two may combine one last time in hopes of getting Hampden-Sydney into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.
Carter is a proven playmaker out of the midfield, and has produced since the day he arrived at Hampden-Sydney after starring at Cape Henry Collegiate School. He has notched at least 30 points every season, including last year's 56-point performance, and he led the Tigers in assists (30) last year. Corey is a natural attackman who is extremely dangerous behind the cage, but Rostan said the rookie will likely see the bulk of his time in the midfield considering Sydney's senior-laden attack unit returning this year.
If Corey is running at attack or on the same midfield line as his older brother, they'll be hoping to reenact their lone season together four years ago when Carter was a senior and Corey a frosh.
"I'd credit about 70 percent of my goals to him that year because he was getting double-teamed left and right, and he'd set me up for crease dunk," said Corey. "That was probably our strongest year where we connected the most."
However, if Corey winds up on the second midfield line with two other highly touted rookies, including the younger brother of Cole Hawthorne, who led Sydney in points last spring, Carter knows he'll do just fine. Even though Corey blew out his knee during his junior soccer season, he's back to full strength heading into 2012.
"There are not many guys who can stop his quickness," Carter said. "He's a real shifty guy. We've got a lot of good freshmen, which is pretty exciting."
If the two brothers mesh as well on the field as they do off it, that stress ball may get a long rest this spring.