Surrounded by family and friends, Long Reach senior Vincent Valenza signed a National Letter of Intent Friday afternoon to play lacrosse at Canisius College next year. Valenza becomes the first Long Reach boys lacrosse player to sign a NLI with a Division I college.
He finished his senior campaign with 29 goals and 14 assists for the Lightning (3-10).
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Valenza said. “It just shows that it doesn’t matter what school you go. You can go wherever you want as long as you work hard enough.”
The accomplishment was extra special for Long Reach head coach Frank Valenza, Vincent's father, who has been there everyday, on-and-off the field.
"He's been playing the game since he was about seven years old. He's had some struggles but he works hard," Frank said. "He practices every day. He's either shooting or working out. Hard work pays off and that's what I tell all the kids."
Vincent had the opportunity to play this season with younger brother Anthony, a starting freshman goalie. Anthony will miss having his brother around but probably won't miss seeing him in practice.
"It was fun playing with him. He gave me lots of tips and whenever I got down he brought me back up again," Anthony said. "He shot harder at me in practice than he did in games."
Long Reach hasn't been a powerhouse in lacrosse but Vincent feels that they have the makings of a solid program.
"I think we're starting to build the program up," Vincent said. "We have some kids who can play. It's a struggle every year with the skill level but I think if we keep working hard and getting better we can make some progress."
Mt. Hebron attackman Adam Huber will also play lacrosse for the Golden Griffins in the fall.