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River Dell’s Manzelli’s training regimen pays off with 100th career goal

River Dell senior Teri Manzelli scored her 100th career goal. She credits her intense training regimen and hard work for her yearly improvement.

River Dell senior Teri Manzelli said when she was little, she played every sport practically in the book whether it be softball, dancing, and soccer. Her primary sport was soccer but come fifth and sixth-grade, Manzelli realized lacrosse would be the sport to concentrate on and could improve.

Committing to training, Manzelli has been working out doing Cross Fit along with swimming and working out with Head Football Coach DJ Nimphius in the weight room.

“It provided a base for all my other sports and each skill set compliments the next sport,” said Manzelli. “I like to challenge myself. Once I got to freshman year with the recruiting process starting I knew that I wanted to play at a higher level. Some of the girls on the team have never been in the weight room before. It adds another aspect of strength and conditioning and provides great team bonding. I could not let go of not being on a team and having an extra family.”

Starting with her freshman year in 2016, Manzelli did not disappoint tallying 23 goals and 11 assists. She followed that up with a solid sophomore season notching 22 goals and 27 assists. Last season proved out to be the breakout year for Manzelli as she finished with 41 goals and 32 assists.

This season Manzelli has registered 21 goals and 14 assists, including breaking the school record for most assists while on April 13th against Demarest. She registered her 100th career goal, while she and teammate Katie Rowley became the most prolific scoring tandem in school history.

“I have been with Coach (Jessica) Rickerhauser for four years and seen the team go through ups and downs. This year we have so much potential even though our record might not show it right now. We have a lot of games coming up and we’re super excited. She motivates us to do our best and shows us the ropes. As a veteran team, she gives us more leeway and says you guys know what you are doing and her discipline has been a staple throughout my career.”

“The assistant coaches help out the younger players. We have a pretty big senior class that has been together for three or four years. We lost a lot of defenders from last year, but our goalkeeper Noelle (Sarafian) has done a phenomenal job.”

“Katie Rowley and I have been playing together for so long, it’s second nature on the field where we know each other is on the field. It’s been great having her by my side my entire career. She pushed and challenged me to be a better player where I’m more of a defensive player and she is an attacker. Going against her in practice is like having a competitor on your side. Our older sisters played together, and now my younger sister is on the team and cool to see her grow as a player and only a year younger than me and neat to build chemistry with her”

“The last three years we have made county and state tournaments only to end up exiting in the second round but you have to work with the talent you have, unlike private schools who have an edge with recruiting. Our coaches do a great job of building up our players and effort. It comes from my Dad saying if you are not scoring most of the goals, you can still make a big difference off the field.”

With the lacrosse season winding down, Manzelli decided to commit to attending St. Bonaventure University in the fall where she will continue her lacrosse career.

“St. Bonaventure is a family environment, great players, coaches, and its business program. It’s almost cliché how fast the time goes by, each year has gone faster and looking back senior year just started, and I was still a freshman. My family has been amazing especially my parents who have been so supportive at everything I do.”

“When I was in club sports, they would drive me to tournaments and be on the sidelines. A little bit of sibling rivalry with my three sisters but it’s a good type of competitiveness. One is graduating from Ithaca College, another a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire and my younger sister joining me at St. Bonaventure next year. I’m excited to be starting a new chapter in my life even though it’s bittersweet because I have made such good relationships on the team and playing with them since first grade until the end of my River Dell career.”

“I’m so proud to be a River Dell student-athlete, sports are a huge part of the high school but as well as are academics. All of the teachers’ are super understanding about our practices and offer extra help. Mr. (Denis) Nelson is great about our bus schedules, scheduling games and field times. The behind-the-scenes people such as our athletic director and groundskeepers.”

Before she wraps up her lacrosse season and graduates, Manzelli had made it a mission to pay it forward and help out younger teammates and kids playing in the River Dell system. Even with living in River Edge, Manzelli said she knew most of the girls from Oradell.

“There was always some joking around between both towns but the transition was not that difficult as you might think because everyone is in the same position and wants to make new friends,” Manzelli said. We are two towns intertwined very nicely.”

“All the players that came before me and inspired younger kids I want to do that as they have done for me. With the sport growing so much and becoming popular if you have never played before, pick up a stick and try it. It’s definitely important to find a passion in something and if I can help spark that it’s a cool thing to be a part of.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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