NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- Senior goalie Claudia Vitale would have played her third season on the New Providence High School varsity girls Lacrosse team. 

Vitale first stepped in to play goalie around 5th grade. "I'd never practiced the position before, but we had a scrimmage and needed one, so I jumped in and I've been playing it ever since," said Vitale.

Her favorite high school highlight was their 15-13 victory against Montclair Kimberley Academy when the Pioneers rallied from behind to advance to the semifinal round of the  NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament. "We were losing by four with five minutes left and our team managed to work together and win every draw and win the game by two. I saved the last shot they took on me. It was the best game I've ever experienced."  

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"Being a goalie takes more preparation than other positions on the team. Along with the mental aspects of being in goal, juggling with the magnet school schedule and responsibilities, additional warm-up, and equipment needs, her strong time management skills were crucial," said New Providence girls lacrosse coach Jennifer Henry. "You can see why our success in the last few years wouldn't have been possible without Claudia's dedication and persistence to improve as a player and help facilitate others' improvement." 

Henry lauded Vitale for always being prepared and eager to practice each day without hesitation. "I am grateful for all of Claudia's initiative and commitment to coordinate rides to practices and games from the magnet school. I especially appreciate her communication and dedication, consistently making sure she was prepared and available for her teammates," said Henry.

"To wear the NP uniform means that whether you win together, lose together, or tie together you are a team that sticks together," said Vitale. "It means you look out for one another and are stronger together than you are alone."

While she was upset to be missing her final season of lacrosse, she said, "We're all in this together and keeping each other strong."

"The seniors on our team are already planning a pasta party for the rest of the team when this is over where we can just relax and get to be the team we were going to be. We hope to get a couple scrimmages together too before we leave for college," she said. "I wish all the incoming freshman the best of luck in the sport and hope for the best season next year for my fellow younger teammates! Go pioneers!!"

Editor's Note: New Providence High School closed its doors for the school year in mid-March, corresponding with the declaration of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. In early May the NJSIAA confirmed that the entire spring sports season would be canceled statewide.TAPinto New Providence will feature New Providence High School senior athletes in a spotlight series to be published. Seniors, click here for form. 

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The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Senior Spotlight is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800.