The guys on the Fairport boys lacrosse team call the team's fun-loving goalie "Meatball."
No one is sure why. They also call Blaze Riorden "King," for more apparent reasons.
"He's just the man," Fairport senior Derek DeJoe said. "He gets it done. Standing in front of 90 mile per hour shots is not something I want to do. He steps up when it matters."
Riorden mattered a lot during Fairport's run to the Class A state tournament semifinals. The All-Greater Rochester Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year stopped opponents' attacks well enough, and a number of the strong plays that Fairport made the other way began with the 6-foot, 225-pound senior.
"They trusted him," Fairport coach Mike Torrelli said. "He's one of the main reasons why we were there, in a variety of ways."
The Red Raiders won all 16 of their regular season games, their second Section V title in three seasons and rose to No. 1 in the state rankings before losing to Ithaca in the state semis.
"It was definitely a cool way to end my high school career," Riorden said about the AGR award. "It's been a long and good career, it was a good way to end it. We all accepted the fact that we lost a bunch of seniors, but I think that kind of sparked us. It's the first time since 1984 a Fairport team was undefeated in the regular season."
Torrelli could say before this past season that the Red Raiders would be just fine in at least one area.
"We knew three years ago that we had a pretty special goalie," he said. "We like to run, move the ball upfield quickly.
"To do that, one, you need a defense that can clear the ball and two, a goalie with good skills and can find an open guy. We knew when Blaze was a sophomore we had that. He has better stick skills than a lot of players in our league."
Riorden played attack on some of his youth teams. He ended up in the mouth of a net one game as a fifth grader, to replace an injured teammate.
"I used to think, 'These kids are crazy,' " Riorden said. "I was kind of thrown into the position, and I really liked it.
"My dad gave me (extra) shin pads and all that stuff, but I said I can do this.''
His work as a Fairport goalie includes a team record of 53-9 in three seasons, with a 65 save percentage. "He's probably the best goalie we've had in our program, and we've had a lot of good ones,'' Torrelli said. "We've had our share of All-Americans. He's our first All-American goalie."
One of the very few shutouts produced in state tournament history came during Fairport's win over Section VI's Hamburg during the quarterfinal round in June. Torrelli said that coaches could tell defenders to keep attackmen a certain number of feet away from the net they guarded and almost guarantee the ball would not get by Riorden.
Riorden, who will play next spring at the State University of New York at Albany, also appears to have the ability to see a bigger picture, like when he begins a break or like his days as a football quarterback. "Before our senior game he says 'I'd like the other (two) goalies to get a shot,' " Torrelli said. "In this day and age, that's few and far between among adults, let alone kids. We're definitely not in that era of think of everyone else.
"We did play him when we were a man up. That happened once. He scored a goal."