Romagnoli has special connection to MLAX teammate

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Romagnoli has special connection to MLAX teammate

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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An alma mater is not the only thing men’s lacrosse players Andrew Romagnoli and Jack Zerrillo share.

Each hail from the Syracuse area. Both are offensive-minded players who redshirted their freshman years. The two Marquette men’s lacrosse players have been inseparable for as long as they can remember. Now, they even share a bag for practice every day.

“We’ve been best friends all throughout,” Zerrillo, a redshirt senior, said. “We always played together in high school.”

This season, both players have played a crucial role on the attack for the Golden Eagles.

However, Romagnoli’s path to being an elite Marquette player has been far different from Zerrillo or most lacrosse players. The attackman from East Cazenovia, New York, was on the Marquette roster as a freshman, but he chose to redshirt the season.

He then transferred to Delaware for his next three years of eligibility. But for his final season of eligibility, he decided to become a Golden Eagle once again and rejoin his best friend.

“I just picked up where I left off,” Romagnoli said. “I’m real comfortable and everyone was real good to me, so it’s been a smooth transition.”

Head coach Joe Amplo said he and Romagnoli had some very difficult conversations prior to his acceptance to come back to the team.

“We had some really tough, honest conversations about accountability,” Amplo said. “To (Romagnoli’s) credit, he wasn’t afraid to have them. His parents weren’t afraid to have them and so far … he’s lived up to those expectations.”

Romagnoli, whom teammates refer to as “Romo,” made an immediate impact on the offense upon his return. The 5-foot-11 graduate student is fourth on the team in points and draws a significant amount of attention with the ball in his crosse.

Amplo attributes the seamless transition to his pure skill set and confidence.

“He’s a really good player,” Amplo said. “He grew into a confident player on some good Delaware teams, and he was a big part of whatever success that program had over the past few years.”

Romagnoli has seen time at both attack and midfield this season. Even though he draws a long-pole defender, he has been more productive as an attackman.

“Tanner (Thomson) played attack the first few games and he moved to middie, which opened things up for me,” Romagnoli said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons, so it’s hard to guard us, which makes it easier for me.”

The versatility of Marquette’s offense makes teams have to pick their poison when guarding them.

“Only so many people get the long pole on them,” Romagnoli said. “You’ve got a guy like (attacker Ryan) Fazio who has a short stick (midfielder guarding him) last week and he was able to expose his matchup.”

Amplo said Romagnoli is a pure scorer, something that isn’t as easy as one might think.

“It’s not just shooting and getting open, it’s all of those things. It’s getting open and having the ability to get to the ball,” Amplo said. “It’s finishing, it’s finishing under pressure. He’s got all of that when the ball winds up in his stick. He’s got a scorer’s mentality.”

Zerrillo and the rest of the offense also recognize Romagnoli’s importance.

“He’s such a good player,” Zerrillo said. “He adds a lot of dynamics to our offense.”

Amplo said Romagnoli’s game has come a long way thanks to his time in Newark.

“If you asked me when he was a freshman if this kid could be a consistent college goal scorer, I would’ve said probably not,” Amplo said. “He has proven me wrong. He knows how to score the ball.”

Another player who has capitalized on the various weapons is, Zerrillo. The redshirt senior plays on the second midfield line and even when he’s not scoring, he plays a key role in facilitating the offense.

For Zerrillo and Romagnoli, it doesn’t get any better than getting to play Division I lacrosse as lifelong best friends.

“It’s been awesome having him back and being able to be on the same field,” Zerrillo said.

“We’ve played together since we were in fifth, sixth grade,” Romagnoli said. “It’s kind of nice reuniting again.”

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