VERONA, NJ - A Verona athlete is not only graduating high school with memories from the past four years, but also an impressive lacrosse career and a school record. That athlete is Andrew Gagliostro and he is this week’s TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week.

“It feels good to be the athlete of the week because it gives recognition to the work that my team and I have put in this lacrosse season and throughout our high school careers,” Gagliostro said.

Gagliostro finished his final season as a Hillbilly with 897 saves throughout his lacrosse career, which is a school record. He also came out of the season with a 64 percent save percentage.

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The skilled goalie said that although communication on defense and offense between the team members was a challenge, the Hillbillies improved each game and came out with a 6-11 record for the 2017 season.

“Although the season is over, we progressed throughout the year and went out in a tough game in states against very good competition,” Gagliostro said. “I'm proud of how we finished the season.”

The team’s main goals this season were to become comfortable with their zone and win a states game. Although the boys lost to Haddonfield 8-11 in their final game, Gagliostro is proud of one game in particular: the away game against Pequannock, which they won 9-8.

Gagliostro’s dedication to the sport is something that makes him stand out, Coach Matthew Diglio said. When Gagliostro dealt with the loss of a close family friend during the season, he continued to play his heart out. He attended the funeral during the day and still managed to show up to the game later that day and achieve 17 saves.

“Andrew is a senior captain and leader of the team. He always puts the team first and as a goalie, he stands between the pipes day in and day out without any complaints,” Diglio said. “The team understands if there is a game or practice they can count on him no matter what, and will excel.”

With graduation fast approaching, Gagliostro is looking forward to saying goodbye to Verona High School and ending his high school lacrosse career with a record to be proud of.

“What I love about the sport is the fast pace of the game,” Gagliostro said. “And the strong relationships I have made with my teammates, both from Verona and Club, throughout the year.”