NUTLEY, NJ – Four Nutley High School senior student-athletes signed with their respective colleges to continue their athletic careers.
The athletes were joined by parents, coaches and administrators during a brief ceremony held in the principal’s conference room on Friday, Feb. 8, two days after National Signing Day.
Alessandra Santoriello will play soccer at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, N.Y. in Rockland County Emily DeAngelo also will continue her soccer career at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.
Eli Acosta, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, signed with Rowan University in Glassboro to continue his football career.
Melanie Conca, who plays for the Nutley/Columbia high school co-op ice hockey team, will join the women’s hockey team at Connecticut College in New London, Conn.
Santoriello, a goalie, and DeAngelo, a center midfielder, were key players for the NHS girls soccer team that enjoyed a stellar 12-3-2 season last fall under head coach Mike DiPiano, who also is the head wrestling coach and an assistant softball coach at NHS. DeAngelo made First Team on the All-Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division.
Acosta earned First Team honors on the All-Super Football Conference-Patriot White Division, helping the Raiders win their last three games to finish the 2018 campaign on a high note in a 4-6 season. Acosta also is a standout basketball player who scored 30 points to lead the 26th-seeded Raiders to a upset win over No. 10 seed West Orange in the Essex County Tournament preliminary third round Feb. 7. He also participates in track and field and played baseball for NHS.
Conca, a center, is one of two girls on the Nutley/Columbia ice hockey team. The other is senior captain Isabel Fontanals. Conca, who also plays for the Colonials, a club hockey team, had a goal and an assist to lead top-seeded Nutley/Columbia to a 10-0 win over West Orange in the McMullen Cup playoffs semifinals, Feb. 11, at Richard J. Codey Arena. Concan then scored two goals in the 4-2 victory over Frisch in the championship game Feb. 16 at Codey Arena.
Three of the student-athletes spoke about their memories of their NHS athletic careers and their collegiate decisions.
“So the best part about my four years playing for Nutley have to be just the memories and friendships that I have made. We would go to the beach together, eat together the night before every game, and just have so much playing together on the field. I have gotten to play with such great players, role models, and girls, and without them I would not be the player I am today. My coaches were great support systems too and I could not thank them enough. The night games were always a lot of fun, too.
“I chose Muhlenberg because when I went on my overnight visit, I met a lot of the girls on the team and they were great and so welcoming, as well as the coach. As far as the campus, it is the right size for me and beautiful with a lot to offer as far as ace demos and social life. I loved the lifestyle there as well, where everyone would leave their dorm doors open and you just stop in to say hi and introduce yourself at anytime.”
“Some of the good memories from competing at Nutley High School are getting to play with some girls that I have known since I was young, the bus rides, and the bonding at our team pasta parties. The reason I chose St. Thomas Aquinas is because I feel that the campus is a great fit for me, I was very welcomed by the players and coaches when I went to visit, and it is a perfect distance for me and my family because they are still able to come watch me play.”
“My favorite part about competing for Nutley would have to be the friendships I have made throughout my high school career. Spending endless hours with a group of people for a couple of months at a time creates unbreakable bonds. My teammates have become some of my best friends and overall having that type of relationship there are just so many memories made with them. One of my favorite parts about competing for Nutley would be playing in front of friends, family, peers, and teachers who are all cheering you on. It’s just an amazing feeling having all of that support.
“I chose Connecticut College because from the moment I first stepped on campus I felt comfortable and could see myself there for the next four years. After going for my overnight in the fall, meeting the players and attending classes, I knew Connecticut was the right place for me.”
“Playing at Nutley High School gave me some of the best memories in sports I have ever had, not only football, but also basketball, baseball and track. The coaches care so much about every player and don’t only focus on winning, but also just making us better players and people.
“I chose Rowan because it is just the best fit for me, not only the athletic aspect but also the academics and the campus. The campus is beautiful. The coaches also made me feel very comfortable and proved that they treat every player like their own family.”