Von Hoffmann and Lacrosse Seniors say farewell.
Von Hoffmann, after coaching the varsity squad through nine successful seasons, has decided to step down as head coach. But Von Hoffmann was determined to make the night not about him and his career, but the 14 seniors he’s had the pleasure of coaching for the past four years.
The banquet was held in the atrium of the MHS freshman annex. It was organized by Carol Ewertsen, Marnie Brand, the support of the Booster Club and its dedicated president, Glenn Jackson. Events by Joni staffed the event and supplied the food. A buffet of Italian-American classics like stuffed shells, penne vodka and chicken parmesan, which was provided by both Nauna’s on Valley Road and Belgiovine’s Italian Deli on Bloomfield Avenue.
The atrium was decorated with photos and banners celebrating Montclair lacrosse from all eras. Studio042 contributed amazing high gloss posters. They had a large photo of each senior in their jersey- a lovely memento they will surely cherish for years.
Studio042, with the help of Pat Leonard, Marnie Brand and Carol Ewertsen, also put together a ten-minute video. It showcased photographs of the varsity boys in action. The photos were courtesy of Scott Kennedy.
The festivities kicked-off with a heartwarming introduction for each senior from Mo Singh, the program’s tech manager who deals with game footage. Singh, having known many of the seniors since their freshman year, had compliments and inspiring words for all 14 of them.
After dinner, Freshman Coach Todd Smith recapped the great season he had with his team. Smith commended his boys for their dedication. He pointed out that at the beginning of the season they barely had enough to field a team but refused to accept that reality and worked hard to recruit new members. Smith then announced that, like Von Hoffmann, this season marks his last season with the MHS program.
Smith then awarded the Homer Robinson Award to Will Wrede.
Coach Brian Roth, head coach of the junior varsity team and a man of few words, gave a short speech about his team’s season. Roth made sure to spotlight the two boys, Deondre James and Ian Leong, who stepped up to play goalie when the team’s primary goal, Andres Mazarakis, was injured. Roth presented the JV Teammanship Award to co-captain Max Wilson, highlighting Wilson’s dedication and hard work.
The program then moved into varsity awards, with Von Hoffmann taking the time to recognize every underclassmen member of the varsity squad. He spoke of each boy’s hard work, dedication and how they would be key to holding the team together next year.
Von Hoffmann’s primary focus however, was on his seniors. Hoffmann called up the seniors one by one and explained how each contributed to their team and what made them not only a great player, but also a great person.
The 14 seniors included: Max Bahramipour (Pace University), Jackson Bias (Howard University), Conor Brand (Marist College), Brian Duffy (Saint Michael’s College), Erik Ewertsen (University of Texas), Eric Hager (Oberlin College), PJ Jackson (Haverford College), Noah Holton Raphael (University of Michigan), Brian Leonard (Fordham University), Ryan Mernin (University of Wisconsin), Brendan O’Brien (Wesleyan College), Steve Sibley (University of Indiana), Dan Walpole (Bates College) and Parker Williams (University of Colorado- Boulder).
Von Hoffmann then presented awards to the seniors. The Coaches Award went to middie Erik Ewertsen, the Norman Ball Memorial Award to goalie Ryan Mernin, the Bulldog Award to defenseman Conor Brand, Most Improved to defenseman Dan Walpole and Most Valuable Player to defenseman PJ Jackson.
Jackson was named first team all state and Academic All-American. Junior goalie Ryan Vanderford was named second team all state. Brand received an honorable mention for all-conference.
The banquet closed on a very nice note.
Von Hoffmann the Gill Gibbs Award to the retiring Coach Smith. The Gill Gibbs Award is given in the memory of Coach Gill Gibbs, who coached Von Hoffman during his high school career, but died in 1978.
The three senior captains, Jackson, Williams and O’Brien, gave a nice speech. They thanked Hoffman for everything that he has done for them and the program. Jackson, O’Brien and Williams then called up the two boys who will serve as captains for the 2014 season, Vanderford and middie Gerard Brown.
While the MHS lacrosse program won’t be the same without Coach Von Hoffmann, it still has a bright future ahead of it. With a group of extremely dedicated and talented underclassmen, the program will surely flourish in the years to come.
For more information about the Lacrosse Mounties, visit www.montclairlacrosse.com