VERONA, NJ - After developing a grassroots program and making history the Verona High School boys lacrosse seniors will leave school with lasting memories and a trailblazing legacy.
“These moments create many long-lasting memories; it goes by quick, and it can be taken away in a heartbeat,” said senior Jerry Strippoli.
In the faceoff circle Verona was led by Richard DiGeronimo. DiGeronimo was a possession control machine winning 60% of his faceoffs while also collecting 180 ground balls last season. DiGeronimo is particularly fond of being part of the inaugural team to win a Conference Title for Verona in Lacrosse in 2019.
“My favorite memory was when we won the Klank my junior year and became the first lacrosse team in school history to win a conference. It truly validated all the hard work we put in over the years,” said DiGeronimo
Much like his teammate, Ryan Huze also shared a fondness for the Conference Championship the group was able to attain during their 14-6 campaign last year. Huze was a building block for the squad’s defense who was expected to battle back from a tough injury in 2020.
“Ryan Huze is the ultimate warrior, and he inspires every player to give it their all. He plays his heart out every game,” said Matt Diglio.
On the attack Strippoli led Verona. Strippoli notched 40 goals last season, which was good enough for second on the team along with 24 assists. Strippoli’s ‘all gas and no brakes’ mentality made him fearless on the field and a nightmare for opposing defenses.
“[Strippoli]’s style of play enables each player to succeed. While Jerry’s play is intense and demanding on the defense he brings a sense of calming to his own teammates which allows them to thrive in any situation,” said Diglio.
Alongside Strippoli this season would have been Steven Luehs at the midfield position. Luehs was in the middle of the pack for the team in scoring last year, but could very well have been the secondary option to Strippoli. He is credited for being a big vocal leader for the squad.
“[Luehs] has been a great friend over the years and has provided me, along with the other juniors, underclassmen and even seniors with a positive, fun, competitive playing atmosphere and brings out the best in each and every one of his teammates.” said teammate Ethan Di Clemente
Rounding out the senior group for Verona is Patrick Yeates who also was set to return in the midfield. Yeates is described as the “definition of a two-way midfielder” by his coach. He notched 12 goals, nine assists and 50 ground balls last season for Verona.
“I just want to thank my teammates for making my time on the VHS lacrosse team absolutely amazing. Spending countless hours with the boys will be missed dearly. I will never forget the memories I created with all my teammates,” saidYeates.
Regardless of the finish to their high school careers it’s evident that this group cherishes the journey that they’ve had together over the past several seasons as they embark on a bright future for the next phase of their lives.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.