Pulzello scores Siena

by Kaitlin Stansel and Mia Ramdayal

The crisp, bleak air blew aggressively across the manicured terrain of Mahwah’s lacrosse field. Standing guard just yards away from the mangled net of the goal, Tommy Pulzello fiercely wielded his lacrosse stick.

It was overtime. Glen Rock’s relentless opponents wore familiar faces. The team knew that it was necessary for the game to be won. Pulzello combated players as they hungrily charged towards the holy grail. Defeating them one by one, Pulzello lunged for the ball and threw it down the field into the inviting basket of his teammate. The ball was skillfully juggled between players before being forcefully launched into the goal.

Glen Rock had won.

After adding yet another successful lacrosse season to his athletic resume, senior Tommy Pulzello is ready for the next step in both his lacrosse and academic career – Siena College.

His journey with Siena took the next step on August 6th, when Pulzello first made his commitment to Siena’s lacrosse team. “I committed August 6th, that’s when they called me and said we have a spot for you if you want to be on the team, but I’ve been talking to them for probably a year-and-a-half. I kind of assumed that I’d get an offer but it wasn’t really official until August 6th when they called me and I accepted,” said Pulzello.  

Prior to Pulzello’s commitment he went through a vigorous recruiting process, including numerous college camps and showcases. “That’s where Siena saw me for the first time. I played for ‘Brotherhood Lacrosse Elite’ out of Northern Highlands High School, the coach runs it,” Pulzello recalled.

In addition to Siena, Pulzello was recruited by other potential schools, such as his brother’s former school, Washington College, in Maryland. However, Pulzello did not see as many opportunities as he did with Siena.

“The fact that they [Siena College] stress learning – student first, athlete second – drew me to the school. They have a great alumni network and the coach helps players get jobs after the they graduate,” Pulzello said.

Pulzello’s adoration of the sport began early in his primary school years, around second grade. After his friends joined Glen Rock’s recreational lacrosse team he followed suit and has loved it ever since.

“I don’t know what it is I just love playing lacrosse. All my friends play it so I guess that’s why I love it too. It’s just a fun sport to play,” Pulzello said.

Mary Jane Pulzello, Tommy’s mother, also said that his brother, Dan, was a catalyst in Tommy’s growing interest in lacrosse. “Tommy’s older brother Dan also played lacrosse in high school and in college and Dan always encouraged Tom to play,” said Mary Jane Pulzello.

After he began playing, his mother knew that his interest in the sport would not diminish over time. “Tom was always very tall, a lot taller then most of the kids his age. He also has very long legs and was able to run fast, so we saw pretty early on that he was hard to keep up with on the lacrosse field and he was able to take the ball away from kids and run it up the field,” she added.

His family also credits the countless individuals that advised Tommy with his athletic pursuit.

“I thank his coaches both at GRHS and his travel team coaches at Brotherhood Lacrosse for teaching Tommy how to always work hard and try to improve his game, to set goals and never be satisfied – to always work harder,” said Mary Jane Pulzello.

Pulzello maintains sincere relationships with his teammates both on and off the field.

James Antolino (‘16) plays defense with Pulzello on Glen Rock High School’s team and has had a strong relationship with Tommy throughout his lacrosse career. “Tommy is my best friend in the entire world and I love him with every bone in my body and would die for the kid,”  Antolino said.

Antolino advises Pulzello that success at Siena can be attainable not only through exemplary athletic performance, but also through the respect of others. “My advice for Tommy as he enters his freshman year at Siena next year is to be humble,” said Antolino. “He’ll find that if he respects his upperclassmen and remains modest and respectful he’ll form healthy relationships with his teammates.”

“Playing with Tommy is always great because he’s a great player who knows what he’s doing so he helps people out when they need it, but at the same time no one else has to worry about him getting beat one-on-one,” said junior Robert Ray, a fellow teammate.

Next year at Siena, Pulzello has high aspirations regarding his future as a lacrosse player.

“ I hope to get at least some playing time my freshman year. I really want to participate with the team,” said Pulzello. “I want to prove that I’m good enough and don’t want to be that kid that goes to school and doesn’t play and sits on the bench for four years. I feel like I can really make an impact on the team.”