The news of Toms River East alumnus Nicholas Ferrante's sudden death in a car crash has devastated his coaches and friends in the lacrosse community here.
Toms River High School East Lacrosse Coach George Peters and his volunteer Assistant Coach Joey Shore received the devastating news that former teammate and student in a single car auto accident on a Pennsylvania interstate early Sunday.
Ferrante, a sophomore at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., graduated from Toms River East in 2009.
Shore, a student at Kean University at OCC, was a teammate of Ferrante's and recalled both what a great person and lacrosse player Nick was.
“Nick was a great kid. He showed up to practice every day. He had a fire about him that you never had to tell him to do anything twice,” Shore said.
When asked about the many school records that Ferrante still holds at Toms River East, Shore was quick to point out that even though he was a standout, Ferrante was not selfish on the field.
“Despite holding all those records, he was a great teammate. He got the records because he was a great teammate and a great player,” he said. “He would do whatever he could for you on and off the field.”
Peters is taking the news especially hard. It is always hard to hear of a youngster whose life was taken way too soon, and when it’s one of your former athletes, it’s almost unbearable, he said.
“Lacrosse is like a brotherhood," Peters said. "The kids all really treat each other like brothers out there on the field.”
Peters was still in touch with Nick, as he and many other former players always made it a point to come to TRE practices when they were on break from their own colleges, he said.
“Nick was a giving kid. He always made time for his teammates,” Peters said.
Ferrante was described as a friendly, smiling young man who also managed to unleash an athletic power inside himself.
“Nick and his teammates were tight on and off the field,” said Peters. “Nick was always smiling, and when he was on the field and he wasn’t smiling you knew something was going to happen,” said Peters.
That something could be the drive and determination that led Ferrante to break and hold three school records: most goals in a career, most goals in a season and most goals in a game.
Current Raiders Lacrosse captains Jake Palmer and Alex Lorenca were freshmen lacrosse players when Ferrante was a senior.
“I have some teammates of Nick’s on my team now. This is very hard for us as a team,” said Peters. “Nick was always helping someone,” added Peters.
“Nick was studying criminal justice because he wanted to be a state trooper one day,” said Peters. He wanted to continue helping any way he could.
Peters said he knows there are many friends of Ferrante’s that are away at college that will not be able to make it home for the funeral services.
He said he hopes that with the consent of Ferrante’s parents that some kind of memorial service can take place after the lacrosse season so that all his friends can get a chance to say goodbye.
Peters said he learned the funeral services will be at Andersen & Campbell Funeral Home, 703 Main St., Toms River on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.