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North Penn softball celebrated its six seniors – Gianni Costello, Amanda Greaney, Victoria Juckniewitz, Paige Paciolla, Abbey Picozzi, and Meghan Reilly - with a surprise drive-by last week. The group photo of coach Rick Torresani with the six seniors was taken after what turned out to be the team’s final practice on March 12.
Coach Rick Torresani said: “The seniors on the North Penn softball team have been a part of our program for four years. Since day one, they have bought into what North Penn Softball is all about. They have taken to heart our mantra for the last 20 years “Where Tradition Never Graduates” and made sure they left a legacy for North Penn teams that follow them. They knew how good the team was going to be and knew the individual records they could break. But from day one, they were all about the team. Their accomplishments for the last three years are amazing. 60 wins, three consecutive Continental Conference championships, District One Final 2019 and two PIAA State Quarterfinals 2018-2019. Yes Amanda Greaney and Victoria Juckniewitz may have received all the print deservingly so, but seniors Paige Paciolla, Abbey Picozzi, Gianna Costello and Madison Reilly made this teamwork. They started in early September with fall workouts, through winter workouts to the start of the season, making sure this team was together and working for one common goal: “BIG DAWGS ONLY”. They made sure that all the players trying out for the team knew what it meant to be a North Penn Softball Player and that they played for the players who came before them. This group was special and so much fun to be around. I think that is what hurts the most that we didn’t get a chance to be together and enjoy whatever ride we went on.
“Last Tuesday was to be their Senior Night and the underclassmen knew they had to do something for their seniors. They arranged a drive-by to each senior with 29 cars driving to each senior house. They did it on their own, which showed how important this senior class was to them. Maddy Gronback got all the underclassmen to send her a video taking about what the seniors meant to them and put it all together in a video that we could put on our NP Softball Twitter site. The parents got together an also did a video of the drive, including pictures from last year. It truly was a family coming together to say how much the seniors meant to everyone.
“As the head coach, I am going to miss them because of the energy, dedication and the will to want to keep the tradition of winning at North Penn. And they would have done that.”
Senior co-captain Amanda Greaney said: “Up until the day of the drive-by, I had no idea, but my parents hinted at it. I looked a mess because I wasn’t planning on leaving, and they said, ‘I think you should change and get cleaned up.’ Then I suspected something was up. It was really great because I didn’t even get to say good-bye to the team. It was great to see everyone even if I couldn’t talk to them, and I don’t know about the other seniors, but I cried. It was so meaningful. It meant the world to see everyone again, and everyone took time out of their day to come say hi to all of us.
“It was really nice to have that, and I’m looking forward to Lehigh (University) and everything, but I’m not ready to move on and break away from this team. It’s like saying good-bye to your family forever. Yes, I’ll see them again, but I’ll never be on this team anymore, and that’s what’s so hard. I’m going to college, but I know I can come back versus leaving my team – I can’t play on that field anymore.
“It’s frustrating because this is a different team. Yes, I have a bond with all the girls I’ve ever played with, but this was different. I bonded with every single individual on and off the field. There are certain teams you’re on, and you only have a bond when you’re between the two lines on the field, but this team – I could talk to any one of them, and any one of them could talk to me. I don’t care what time it was – I’ll respond. That’s what was so amazing about this team.
“Coaches have always pounded in your head – walk on the field like it’s your last game. You could get injured at any moment and never walk on the field again. I feel like no one ever understood that – obviously, this isn’t an injury, but our whole season was taken from us. We still have hope that even though our season was taken away from us maybe we can do something together again this summer, be able to see each other one last time and maybe even get to play – not even a formal game – with each other again.
Senior co-captain Victoria Juckniewitz said: “It was devastating to final out our season was cancelled. I was looking forward to playing behind Mady (Volpe) again and playing with Amanda (Greaney) again and having my other senior friends get the chance to play and actually sharing the field with all of them for once. That was really exciting because we’re all really good friends, and that would have been really fun. I’ve always said when people asked me what do I wish could happen – I wish we could have had one home game, just one. That would have been satisfying. It doesn’t matter if it was playoffs, the first game or Senior Night – just one game would have been nice.
“I knew the drive-by was happening, but it was still nice and thoughtful for everyone to come out and do it. The night before all the seniors got together – a real low key thing obviously following social distancing guidelines. We just talked for a while, and that was nice too. The coaches are trying hard to get a game for us this summer. We hope so, and it’s really nice the coaches are trying hard for us. Whatever happens, happens. I just feel bad for the girls who won’t be playing college.”