Childhood friends Cormier and McConvey bring Canadian flair to UVA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The first goal of the Virginia lacrosse season might as well have been drawn up on the playground, that is how far back the boyhood friendship between Payton Cormier and Thomas McConvey goes.
"We had that one, kind of practiced through the week of practice," McConvey said, "Internally between me and him we had a little negotiation we were going to do it, but we've been doing that our whole lives."
Before the opening goal against Michigan, Cormier told McConvey he would throw the ball his way whether the midfielder was open or not. Luckily McConvey was as he opened his UVA goal tally.
"Our whole lives it's been like a two-man side with me and him, just simple stuff, try to be creative and do whatever we can to get an advantage," Cormier said, "Fortunately the plays we've connected with each other so far, it's worked out."
Since the age of ten, Cormier and McConvey played lacrosse and hockey together growing up in Ontario for a Toronto-based club team the Mimico Mountaineers.
"Every year, showing up to Mimico Arena or Long Branch Arena for tryouts or practices and every single time Thomas is right there in the locker room beside me," Cormier said.
When McConvey entered the transfer portal after an All-American career at Vermont, UVA coach Lars Tiffany could feel the nudge in his side from Cormier.
"Oh there was no question Payton wanted his buddy here and I think it really helped us," Tiffany said, "Thomas had the pick of the litter, he had a lot of great schools. There was a lot to pull Thomas here, but there was no question, Payton calling him, texting him, saying hey you got to check this out."
As Virginia coaches began to start their recruiting process, Cormier was already closing in on locking down a huge addition to the Cavalier midfield.
"He would tell Lars and gave me a good read on how the situation was going," McConvey said, "I think it definitely helped throughout the process and made it more comfortable making the switch from Vermont to a new school for one year."
The Maple Leaf connection between the two has played out instantly bringing a Canadian flair to the Cavaliers.
"There's a little sense that everybody knows these guys are a little bit different, however they want to take that," Cormier said.
Before this season, Cormier was only one of two Canadians to play for Tiffany at Virginia along with Theo Dol. Although Cormier cites a mentorship with former UVA All-American attackman and Canadian Garrett Billings as one of the reasons he ended up in Charlottesville.
The way Cormier and McConvey clicked from day one had an impact on how the UVA offense would look.
"There was a couple things they did in the preseason, in January and February and I was like 'Coach Kirwan, Sean we can't defend that, even though we know that play is coming, we can't defend it, you got to run it," Tiffany said.
Cormier and McConvey have assisted on each other's goal eight times in only six games together.
"Sometimes we get a little hecklers from the American guys on our team, but it's all fun and games," McConvey said, "Every team kind of needs a different element."
After only seeing each other time to time over the last four years, Cormier and McConvey now live together in a two-person apartment.
"We get after each other a little bit in the apartment, but it's all fun and games," McConvey said, "Kind of takes you back to just growing up and being around each other, having fun, playing lacrosse. Back to those childhood memories that bring back good, happy feelings."
As key cogs in the Virginia attack, the game still feels the same as it did more than a decade ago back in Toronto.
"Just our whole lives, just being around each other, every time in the locker room, whatever teams we were playing for," Cormier said, "Just getting the opportunity to obviously continue that here, it's pretty special."