Sports

Mahopac Senior Uses Speed to Her Advantage

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Marella Verde battles for a loose ball in a game against Brewster. Credits: Deena Bell
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Mahopac senior Marella Verde is an attacker on the varsity lacrosse team. She also played on the varsity field hockey team.

How old were you when you started playing lacrosse and how did you get started?

I was exposed to lacrosse in second grade because coach (Jim) Lieto was actually my teacher at Lakeview (Elementary School). My older sister Vanessa also played and I just picked it up along with her.

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As a senior attack player, how will you use your offensive experience to impact the upcoming postseason games?

This postseason I am going to use my speed on the ride to get the ball back and create more opportunities for our offense. One-vs.-ones have been a focus of ours lately in practice so I am hoping to use my speed and my shot to put the ball in the back of the net.

How would you describe the season so far? Were there any highlights?

We’ve had a couple big wins this year like against Scarsdale and a close one against Arlington, but our overall record this year is an understatement for the talent we have on this team. We are really putting the pieces together now knowing it’s do or die for sectionals.

What have the team’s strengths and weaknesses been? What do you feel will be the key to being successful during sectionals?

Our team’s strengths are our experienced attack lineup and our large senior class all wanting to make it far this year. Our weaknesses are having to fill major roles on the defensive end but several girls have stepped up so far this season. The key to being successful in sectionals will be getting the ball right off the draw and possessing it. The rest we can handle.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?

We love our team dinners the night before a game and listening to music on the bus to a game.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My brother Frankie is my role model. Everyone says I am the girl version of him. He always makes me think about what I could be doing to be even better than I am now. He will ask me, “What are you going to do today at practice that you don’t usually do?”

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

My max bench-press is 165 pounds thanks to my coaches at Massi-Machado Strength & Conditioning. I take pride in the training I do there in the off-season. The success I have on the field directly correlates to the time and effort I put in at training.

Do you plan on continuing to play lacrosse in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you choose that school?

I will be continuing my lacrosse career at Springfield College. I knew I loved Springfield since my older brother Frankie went there. When it came time to start looking at colleges Springfield had my name written all over it.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

I will be studying sports biology. After college I am headed for medical school so that I can become an orthopedic surgeon. This has been my career plan since sophomore year after I had back surgery and it has stuck ever since.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

My favorite professional athlete is Sterling Shepard from the New York Giants. Go Big Blue!

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a lacrosse game?

Anyone that knows me knows I am a Whitney Houston fan, but “Rolex” has been our pregame song by popular demand.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

The ability to breathe underwater because I get scared when I have to hold my breath for a long time. It would also be nice for scuba diving.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I would want to go to Africa and go on a safari. I love going to the Bronx Zoo to see all the animals and an African safari would top that any day.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

Before a game I keep it light and I’ll have some sort of fruit and maybe a granola bar. After a game I’ll eat anything in sight. Usually we go out after with some of the team.

Best place to eat in Mahopac and why?

I am loyal to Cacciatori’s because I work there. It is the best pizza in town. I am also a huge Kobu fan.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Instagram and Twitter are neck and neck. If I need a laugh I go on Twitter, but Instagram keeps me occupied.

For a young athlete growing up in Mahopac, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the lacrosse program and why should they go out for the team?

I was on the fence when it came to trying out for JV lacrosse in eighth grade. When I finally made up my mind I didn’t know it was going to change my life the way it did. I’ve been a part of numerous teams throughout high school but none of them compare to the lacrosse team. The friends I made will be a part of my life forever. Playing the sport in general is such a privilege. I always emphasize that being able to play a sport should not be taken for granted. It is safe to say lacrosse has taught me a lot.

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