Athlete Spotlight: Lenox girls soccer star Nicole Gamberoni
After collecting The Berkshire Eagle All Star award for girls soccer MVP as a junior, Nicole Gamberoni has returned for her senior season at Lenox even stronger.
Before she went out and earned her county-leading 16th and 17th points this season in a 5-1 win at Mount Everett, Gamberoni swung through The Eagle offices for a photo shoot and to sit down and talk about her soccer career. She was in town taking English, Psychology and History at BCC before finishing out her day at Lenox. This week's Athlete Spotlight feature conversation ranges from the Millionaires star's start on the pitch to her familial rivalry with a pair of Wahconah athletes, Halloween costumes and her recent verbal commitment to join good friend Shannon Finnegan, a Lee graduate, on the soccer team at American International College next fall.
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE: Tell us a little bit about your start in soccer.
NICOLE GAMBERONI: I started playing when I was probably three years old, kicking it around with my dad. I started with the Little Kickers when Pittsfield Soccer Club got going. I played Pittsfield up until sixth grade, then switched over to JV at Lenox. I've been on varsity since eighth grade.
EAGLE: How'd you wind up at Lenox?
GAMBERONI: I live in Pittsfield, but I've never really gone to a Pittsfield school. I went to Richmond for elementary, where my mom was working. She got a job at Lenox Elementary School. So my sister and I had a choice of whether we wanted to stay at Richmond or move to Lenox. I chose to move.
EAGLE: It's your last year playing high school soccer, so what's next?
GAMBERONI: I've been looking at a lot of colleges, but I got an offer from American International College and I verbally committed to play soccer there. My plan is, if I get in, to go to AIC.
EAGLE: Are you friends with Lee's Shannon Finnegan, who plays at AIC now?
GAMBERONI: We're wicked close. I'm actually going on Saturday to spend the weekend with her and watch a game. She got some playing time last week.
EAGLE: What do you want to study?
GAMBERONI: Not sure what my major would be, but I'm really into psychology. That's one of the classes I'm taking at BCC right now.
EAGLE: How much soccer do you play in the offseason?
GAMBERONI: I used to play SCA, but then I switched over to what is now Black Rock FC. It was GPS. This spring I'm playing with a GPS West team that is ranked No. 2 in the state. It's a lot of kids from Granby and Monson and Gateway.
EAGLE: But last year, what made you decide to try lacrosse?
GAMBERONI: I had done track every year, and my times in seventh and eighth grade were very good, but then my times just weren't there any more. I was talking to Shannon, and she said she was trying lacrosse, so I thought I'd give it a try too. It was something different and fun. I played boys lacrosse as a kid, but last year was my first year in a while.
EAGLE: What do you remember from last year's Western Massachusetts final, a 5-1 loss to Granby?
GAMBERONI: We left that behind. We learned from it, and they have a ton of great players we have to watch if we make it that far to play them again, but we're just learning and taking it as we go.
EAGLE: How are the Millionaires looking this year?
GAMBERONI: We have a great relationship with each other, seven seniors and a bunch of freshman, but it doesn't feel that way. We all click as one. In the beginning we weren't sure who the goalie would be. We have two strong goalies, but Sophie Patella has been doing a great job in net, and Taylor Knight has been huge on defense for us. The defense has been a savior in some big games.
EAGLE: You and Abby Schilling have impressive chemistry, where does that come from?
GAMBERONI: We've played together since we were 10. She and I are very close friends and on the field you can kind of see that. It helps having someone there in the same position. She and I rely on each other to take the outside shots, or get the ball up the field. We look for each other and can move into space and get open.
EAGLE: What's the toughest defense you've gone up against?
GAMBERONI: We haven't played Wahconah yet, so as of right now I'd probably say Monument Mountain. Gabi DeFelice is really strong and same with Sydney Ruggiero. I played with her over the summer and I know what she can do. Definitely don't like playing against her. I've always had trouble getting by Gabi, even when we were little.
EAGLE: What's your relationship like with Wahconah soccer sisters Victoria and Maria Gamberoni
GAMBERONI: We're close cousins, have a lot of family get-togethers, and Victoria is probably my best friend. I think Maria and my sister, Marley, are great friends and we all hang out. It's a lot of fun to have a cousin your own age. Marley's a gymnast, though. Not into sweating as much as us soccer players.
EAGLE: What about when Lenox and Wahconah matchup on the field or basketball court?
GAMBERONI: We don't let it get to us, but we're competitors. The Gamberonis are very competitive. Whatever goes, goes on the field.
EAGLE: What is you go-to pregame meal?
GAMBERONI: Pregame a lot of pasta, and maybe a quick Ayelada run. After like a Friday night game, we'll go with my family and maybe the Patellas and Roberts and head to Mazcots to eat.
EAGLE: What's the best Halloween costume you've ever had?
GAMBERONI: Oh, man. One year I went as Little Red Riding Hood and Abby was the grandmother. So, that was fun. I was also a princess for many years. This year, probably just dress up as a black cat or something.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Mike Walsh.
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