In a sea of great white sharks on the Yorktown High and Syracuse University lacrosse fields, Rob Kavovit was the killer whale, the guy making the most majestic splash without the hype and hoopla. A two-time All-American attackman at Yorktown (1992-93) and three-time All-American during his SU career (1994-97), 45-year-old Rob Kavovit passed away, in his sleep, last Wednesday… sending these renowned lacrosse programs into deep reflection, respecting the ego-less soul that was Rob Kavovit. Looking up to ‘Kavo’ was made so easy by the fact that he never looked down on anyone.
“He was just the perfect teammate,” Syracuse/Yorktown All-American legend Paul Carcaterra, Kavovit’s best friend and teammate, told the world via an emotional ESPN broadcast that had the lax world in tears.
At two of the world’s most prolific lacrosse programs, “Kavo” and “Carc” delivered the goods as distinct opposites, yet best friends: Kavovit the unassuming orca whale and consummate teammate; Carcaterra the fiery shark. The duo went on to win three-straight state high school titles in the most prolific era in Section 1 history before winning national titles like nobody’s business in the mid-90s.
“His lack of wanting self-attention made him the most underrated and unassuming superstar Syracuse has ever had,” Carcaterra said before watering the eyes of anyone within earshot of his passionate, unflappable ESPN broadcast. “He was a beautiful soul.”
That sentiment was echoed throughout the country last week, as friends, coaches, teammates and former greats paid homage.
It was the same thing at Yorktown, where Kavovit played on the same attack line with Carcaterra and legendary golden boy Dave Marr, two of the flashiest cats on the local lax circuit. At Yorktown, during the golden era of Section 1 lax, Kavovit amassed 152 goals and 158 assists (1991-93), placing him third all-time at Yorktown (behind the legendary Nelson brothers, Tom and Tim) and 16th on the all-time Section 1 scoring list (310 points). He won state championships with then-coach Jim Turnbull’s Huskers in 1991, 1992 and 1993, the only three-peat in the history of the seven-time NYS champs.
After Yorktown, Kavovit turned his attention toward a degree in physical therapy and next-level lax, finishing ninth on the Syracuse all-time points list with 246 (125 G, 121 A).
Nobody balled-out bigger in big games than Kavovit: He ranks fourth in SU history in career NCAA tourney points (51) and posted four goals and three assists in the team’s 1995 national title triumph over Maryland.
Organically, the ball always found his stick when critical thinking mattered most, and delivery was as certain as the U.S. postal service… rain, sleet or snow… dodge, score or feed… Kavovit got it done when the chips were on the line.
“He was THE catalyst amongst a lot of good guys,” said former SU teammate Ric Beardsley, a three-time All-American at ‘Cuse and two time A-A stud at Lakeland.
I was fortunate to have witnessed the golden era of Section 1 lacrosse through my own eye-popping eyes — when Yorktown, Lakeland and Mahopac were at their peaks — as a fiery young scribe. Together, I learned the grassroots game of lacrosse through the web of some of the finest players in the history of the game; Beardsley, Carcaterra, Dom Finn, Roy Colsey, Dave Marr, Rocco and Anthony D’Andraia, Jason Foley, Paul Elfstrum, Brian Kuczma and Rob Kavovit, perhaps the purest of them all.
Kavovit leaves behind his wife, Marion, and two young sons, Landry (10) and Luke (8), and the Yorktown lax family was set to get behind a GoFundMe page established by Anne Pawsat-Dressler www.gofundme.com/f/Our-Village-for-Marion-Kavovit–Boys .
And the USA lax world, a family and community unlike any other, was poised to follow.