LIVINGSTON, NJ — Goalie: the last line of defense. During the May 12 Varsity Lacrosse game against West Essex, Livingston High School junior captain and goalie Stephen Russo led the Lancers to a thrilling 6-5 win that included an 80-yard goal by Russo, who also broke the team's record in saves.
"After I saw the ball hit the back of the net, I was extremely excited to score my first goal as a goalie and put my team on top," said Russo, referring to the 80 yarder against West Essex.
Russo also said that he owes much of his success to his teammates and coach.
"I feel that Coach Dzama has taught us different techniques in order to succeed during the season,” he said. “Also, the seniors took a huge leadership role as well as the hard work of my teammates to help the team through the wins and losses this season."
In addition to the impressive goal, Russo has proven his skills throughout his high school years as a shot stopper, starting as the varsity team's goalie for multiple seasons and breaking a team record last Thursday with an unprecedented 20 saves. He was also named one of the captains as a junior.
Acording to Head Coach Brad Dzama, Russo has proven himself to be a truly gifted player.
"So far, in my 19 years of coaching, Stephen Russo is on my top three of players in talent, leadership, and overall positive impact on the team,” said Dzama. “Where Stephen most stands out is his knowledge of the game, which is at the highest level of any player that I have coached."
Junior teammate Josh Leibowitz also highlighted Russo's significance to the team, saying, "Stephen is a crucial member of our team, he is key to our defense and keeps us mentally focused both on and off the field. During practice he is a leader and encourages and supports his teammates to work hard and develop their skills. "
Russo is a two-sport athlete who also plays football for the high school in the fall as a fullback and middle linebacker. He plans on attending Cleveland State University at the end of the 2016-2017 school year to play Division 1 Lacrosse for Coach Sheridan and Coach German.