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VECCHIO SHOOTS FOR THE TOP

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Kendall Vecchio has received plenty of help from his family in his quest to play Division I college lacrosse.

Whether it was his mother, Nancy, coaching him, or his cousin, Matt, pushing him to be a better player, all of that has translated to Vecchio joining one of the best programs in college sports.

Vecchio, a senior attackman/midfielder for the Watertown High School boys lacrosse team, signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse for nine-time NCAA champion Johns Hopkins starting in the 2014 season at the Italian American Civic Association on Tuesday.

Nancy Vecchio, Kendall's mother, said it was the close-knit atmosphere that swayed her son into picking the Blue Jays.

“I think what really hit home with us was the sense of family that we found when we met with Coach (Dave) Pietramala,” she said. “Sitting across from his desk, you just knew instantly that you were connected and you belonged there.”

Kenadall, who transfered to Watertown after playing his junior season with General Brown, said that playing college lacrosse is something that he's always wanted.

“Ever since I was 10, I pretty much wanted to play college lacrosse,” said Vecchio, who recorded 22 goals and 15 assists last season with the Lions.

Vecchio's travel team coach, Ric Beardsley of Team United in Syracuse, said Nancy Vecchio helped play a role in molding her son's skills.

“He has a very high lax IQ,” said Beardsley, who was a four-time All-American and two-time national champion as a defenseman at Syracuse. “I think that's attributed by having Nancy as his mom. Nancy is a lacrosse person.”

Kendall thinks his multiple talents can help Johns Hopkins right away.

“I can pretty much do everything, said Vecchio. “I won around 65-percent of faceoffs and I can shoot around 100 miles per hour.”

The recruitment of Vecchio by the Blue Jays came together quickly over the summer. Beardsley said going to Hopkins will be life changing.

“No one was recruiting him, but all of a sudden he went on a visit,” said Beardsley. “And now he's going to one of the best well-known institutions in the United States academically.”

Vecchio's cousin, Matt Emerson, said that Kendall's coaches got him noticed by Hopkins.

“Working Ric Beardsley, Reggie Thorpe and Paul Carcaterra really helped get Kendall's name out there,” said Emerson.

Watertown boys lacrosse coach Brian Navarra said it will be nice having Vecchio on his team in the spring.

“It's definitley great to have him on my side this year.” said Navarra, who coached the Cyclones to 15-2 record and Frontier League “A” Division title last season. “He's such a beast and very versatile.”

Vecchio said he is looking to help Watertown repeat last year's success, which included a Section 3 Class B semifinal appearance.

“The Cyclone team that we have this year is going to be really strong,” said Vecchio. “We have a new defense, a new goalie, but I'm hoping to try and win a sectional championship.

Kendall also said he's keen on helping Hopkins earn another national title.

“I would love to win a national championship,” said Vecchio.

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