05/24/2019 12:30 PM
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You'd think that after a while, Ronnie Durante would want a break from having to stop having shots sent his way.
It's not enough for Durante to be a goalie on the lacrosse field - and a very good one at that - for Team 91 2020 Orange and Lindenhurst. He's been the starter in the Lindy cage since his freshman year and a part of the '20 Orange team for the past two years.
But no, that's not enough for Durante, because in the fall, he's also manning the cage on the soccer pitch. As recently as a year ago, he found himself trying to decide which sport to focus on for college.
"In my 10th grade summer, I was thinking of what to focus on between soccer and lacrosse," Durante said. "I just realized that I had improved so much in lacrosse since eighth grade and that I wanted to play in college and at the top level. When I first got a couple of emails from college coaches, that's when I realized that I could play at the top level."
Distance from home wasn't a determining factor for Durante, but as it turns out, he won't have to go far to continue his lacrosse career after he committed to St. John's this week. He's the third commit from the '20 Orange team after defenseman Kyle Connor (Sachem East/Quinnipiac) and Anthony Sand (St. Dominic/VMI) previously verballed, and he's the second Team 91 alumnus to pledge to the Johnnies after '17 Rob Ziegler (Sayville).
"From the first time that I got on campus, it felt like the right thing to do," Durante said. "The coaching staff was great and it was a great environment. It's a big school, but it's all together, so it felt smaller and it just felt right. I loved everything about the school, and it will lead me down the path I want both academically and athletically. I never worried about going away or staying local. I was just looking for whichever school would be the best, and it just happened that the local school was the best fit for me."
Durante pairs excellent size with that tremendous two-sport footwork, and that combination is a big reason why his 91 coach, Jeff Capri, believes that Durante has plenty of untapped potential at the next level.
"Ronnie is big and fast and very athletic," Capri said. "He'll beat guys to the end line all the time. He has very quick hands and hasn't even reached his potential yet because he's split his time between lacrosse and soccer. I think he can be really, really good, and he has the ability to potentially be a multi-year starter for St. John's. We're so happy that he's found a great home for himself and we're excited to see what he can do on and off the field at St. John's."
Joining Team 91 paid major dividends for the multi-sport standout, too. When he saw an opportunity to elevate his game, he took it, and playing against some of the top teams in the country has driven him to new heights. Pairing his physical gifts with strong work ethic allowed him to reach the level that he was eyeballing for a while.
"It's been a great experience and I've made a lot of friends," Durante said. "It's helped to play at such a high, competitive level, and it's definitely helped me in my high school career as well. Before that, I never played for one of the best teams, and now, I'm playing against the best players from around the country. It helps when you see shots that you don't normally see at the varsity level from certain teams."
"A lot of hard work helped me get to this point," Durante continued. "My coaches helped get me to this point, and I wasn't worried about being recruited later. It was just a matter of time for me, and I was waiting for the right school to come, and the right school did come. I want to major in accounting, and it's one of the best accounting schools that you can go to."
Without having to go far from home.