Jan 172014

mzl.jlbwiyhzCongratulations to Amity’s mathletes and Amity Math Team coach, Joy Gathers.

The Amity Math Team competed Thursday, Jan. 16, at Hamden High School in the Greater New Haven Mathematic League tournament.

The Amity Math Team finished in 2nd place in the tournament and 2nd place in the league.

The Amity Spartans narrowly lost out to Choate Rosemary Hall.

The team was first among public schools and earned an invitation to the state competition in March.

Nov 282013

Eric Laugeni takes a moment before the game

Eric Laugeni takes a moment before the game


At today’s Thanksgiving Day Football Game you may notice one player,  Amity co-captain Eric Laugeni #70 step away from his teammates after the National Anthem, take a knee on the field and bow his head for a few moments.

This has been a ritual for the Senior, who turned 17 on Tuesday. He is not praying for a win, but thanking God for giving him the opportunity to play the game that he’s loved since he was little.

The road to high school football was filled with uncertainty, beginning with one life changing moment on August 1, 2008, when Eric, then a sixth grader, was just 11 years old. It was opening day of the Amity Pop Warner Football Season and Eric was helping his father pick up safety cones. He was standing behind his father’s truck, when the cable on a fork lift that was being loaded onto a truck behind him, snapped, sending the 15,000 lb. forklift careening down and pinning the boy against the truck, crushing him from the chest down, making an indentation in the back of the truck.

Eric’s left leg was severed and his right leg was broken and dislocated.

Five years ago, Eric was told he would never run again.

Five years ago, Eric was told he would never run again.

His father rushed to his side and laid him down on the pavement and stayed with him, making sure he remained conscious until the paramedics arrived. In the ambulance, one of the EMTs said they would have to amputate the leg, which aggravated his father to no end, Eric was crying, his future uncertain.

Once at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Laugenis were told that he would have to have surgery within 6 hours because of the risk of infection with the sand and dirt inside his open leg.

After 8 hours of surgery, the doctors said, “He’s alive. We saved the leg, but he will never run again and he’ll always have a terrible limp.”

Eric spent 8 days in the hospital with his left leg fully casted from the hip down. The broken right leg was braced, but no surgery was done on it.

On August 9, the Laugeni’s living room became a makeshift hospital room for Eric with a hospital bed and visiting physical therapists.

He couldn’t use either leg, and had to use a wheelchair to get around.

A couple of additional surgeries were done and then regular therapy at Rehab Associates.

 Mission Accomplished, with a little help from his friends.

Mission Accomplished, with a little help from his friends.

Prior to the accident, Eric had been trying to get into shape, lost 20 lbs. and was training for the Woodbridge Roadrace. He was determined to compete in the 5k, but how could he do that without the use of his legs?

Longtime Amity residents will recall the victorious photo that I ran in the Amity Observer newspaper of several friends pushing Eric in a wheelchair in the pouring rain as they approached the finish line.

During physical therapy, even as he began to walk by himself, Eric’s mom was a driving force behind his recovery. She would not let him slack off and pushed him to try as hard as he could to regain the full use of his legs (without a limp).

Some doctors suggested he take up swimming because he would never be able to do anything else. His mother was disgusted. “How can you even think of telling an 11-year-old that?”

Eric was a member of a travel basketball team at the time of the accident and his coach, Scott Hurwitz figured out a way for him to play. He spoke with the team and all opposing teams and arranged it so Eric would shoot all the foul shots for his team, therefore being an active team member, even if he couldn’t run the court.

Still, Eric wanted to play football. He worked hard to recover, sat out one season then the following year, he was back on the field again.


Never Ever Quit!

As a 7th grader at Amity Middle School, Eric was fully casted and had tutors for 3 months and therapy.


Eric is thankful for all that he is able to do. The doctor who said he should never play football again, just inspired him to work hard and prove the doc wrong.

Dr. Jim Ronai, who works on many difficult cases, knew Eric had a long battle ahead, but never discouraged him from living his dream. For this Eric is grateful.

Daily Pain and More Surgery

The accident shattered a growth plate in his left leg, so it did not grow normally afterward. His leg is 3/4-inch “off.” He goes to New York to the Hospital For Special Surgery where Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch is prepared to lengthen Eric’s femur whenever he is ready to take time off for the surgery and rehab. This could be during his college years or after, but it is better done while he is young.

Eric has chronic back and knee pain, and often it takes a while to climb out of bed. But football is his life and today, when he takes a knee after the National Anthem, take a moment to join Eric in his prayer giving thanks for the second chance on life he’s been given.


Sep 252013

IMG_6094Congratulations to the Amity Spartans Varsity Football Team.
Tonight the boys won NBC30s Subway Team of the Week contest and the Friday Night game against Shelton will be featured on the 11 p.m. NBC30 newscast.
(I was in error before when I reported that the game would be televised live as I had been told)
According to the station, this was the closest vote they’ve ever had, Amity Won by 8 votes.
Let’s Hope that the game against one of their toughest challengers will have the same winning results.
GO Spartans!
Congratulations also to Eli Oliphant who won 1 year’s worth of Subway Sandwiches for voting…. Is he an Oliphant from Orange?


Sep 142013

Amity Junior Natan Busel makes his way across the field.

Amity Junior Natan Busel makes his way across the field.

The Amity Spartans Boys Soccer Team ran over Wilbur Cross in Woodbridge Thursday 4-1.

Amity Captain Justyn Broderick (4), assisted by Jeremy Conn (5) quickly scored the first goal of the game at 1:07 in the first half.

Wilbur Cross’s Chris Crespo tied the score at 28:22.

The second half saw a lot of action with Amity taking the lead and never letting go of it.

Scoring for Amity were: Broderick, assisted by captain Dean Schwartz (10); then Schwartz bringing in an unassisted goal; and Conn, with an assist by Broderick.

Amity outshot Wilbur Cross 14-7.

Wilbur Cross goalie Chris Casas made 8 saves to Amity’s Griffin Volta’s 7.

Records: Amity 2-0, Wilbur Cross 0-1-1



Mar 022013

IMG_0277The Amity Boys’ Hockey Team lost to Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe 3-2 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven on Thursday.

The game was scoreless until the second period when Fairfield’s Kevin Robinson scored the first goal, assisted by Dan Silvestri at 12:47.

Amity’s Dane Simone tied the score, with an assist from Brett McNeil at 14:04.

The third period brought some heavy competition to the ice, with Fairfield scoring its second goal by Tom Kyrstin, assisted by Charlie Medov and Conor Schelop at 6:00.

The Spartans’ Brett McNeil, assisted by Johnny Uscilla answered with Amity’s second goal at 11:50.

Fairfield’s Kyrstin scored his second goal, again assisted by Medov and teammate Kevin Robinson at 14:20.

Fairfield outshot Amity 32-21.

Amity Goalie Nick Nuzzolo had 29 saves; Fairfield’s Kyle Green hut had 19.

Records: Amity 13-7; Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe 10-10.

On Tuesday, March 5, No. 1 Amity takes on the winner of the Conard/Newtown game in the first round of the Division II CIAC Boys Ice Hockey tournament at Bennett Rink in West Haven at 7 p.m.

Feb 152013

Sponsored by Maid Brigade of Derby

The highlight for the week will occur tonight at 7 p.m. when the Amity Boys Varsity Basketball team plays East Haven and celebrates their annual senior night.

During the game, the team will be honoring former Amity student, Corporal Christopher R. Zovinka.

The team will also be collecting donations for the Wounded Warriors Project.

The first 50 fans to donate $5.00 or more will receive a WWP wristband.

As part of the I-AMITY spirit, all fans are asked to wear red, white, and blue in support of the team, the cause, and the guest of honor.

Come on out for a great game and an important cause. Go Spartans!

Oct 302012


Orange Live Sports Writer

 Sponsored by Resnik & Resnik

Getting off on the right foot with Joey Guerra’s goal at 24 seconds of the first half, the second-seeded Amity boys soccer team defeated seventh-seeded Sheehan 4-1 Sunday afternoon in the quarter-finals of the Southern Connecticut Conference Play-off Tournament.  The victory improves Amity’s record to 14-1-2, which is the best record and most wins in a season during Mike Marchitto’s 11 year tenure as head coach of the Spartans.

According to Marchitto, “Sean Beaulieu fed Joey a through ball that he got at the top of the 18 yard line and quickly finished.”

Amity made it 2-0 when Jon Sutton passed the ball to Beaulieu, who proceeded to beat the Titan defender at the end line and then brought the ball out to 6-yardlix box and sent it home at 2:42.

The score remained 2-0 until the Titans’ Jose Estrada scored at 50:49 and ruined goal tender Griffin Volta’s bid for a shutout. That 2-1 tally was short-lived as Justyn Broderick found the net at 64:04 and then  launched a 20 yard jaunt with the ball, beat three Sheehan defenders, and fed a perfectly placed cross to Simone Kantor, who drilled it  home at 75:10.

“It was one of the prettiest goals I’ve seen this season, Marchitto said.

Amity outshot the Titans 11-9 and Volta recorded eight saves.

Marchitto added, “We played a spectacular game today—one of our best this season. This time, we worked together, played defense together, and finished most of our scoring opportunities.”

On Thursday, Amity is scheduled to host the winner of Wednesday’s quarter-final contest between Guilford and Branford.

Last week the Spartans concluded their regular SCC season by hammering both West Haven (7-0) and Career (5-1). Guerra recorded a three-goal hat trick and added an assist against the Westies. Ian O’Brien-Cannon added a pair of scores and an assist. Sutton and Jeremy Conn each put a ball into the net for the winners, who outshot West Haven 12-6. Volta recorded six saves.

“We got off to a slow start. Our first goal wasn’t scored until 30:46. Then, we scored two more goals in a minute, 20 second span to take a 3-0 halftime lead. We really got going in the second half with four more goals,” Marchitto said. “All in all, it was a good team effort.”

Dean Schwartz’s unassisted goal at 2:46 was the only goal in the first half of the contest against Career.  Once again the Spartans got off to a slow start but then came alive to add four scores in the second half. Those goals were drilled home by Austin Duffy (at 42:00), Guerra (at 50:49), Schwartz (from Guerra at 57:21) and Yani Lagoutis, who came off the bench to add the final goal at 63:14.

The Panthers’ lone goal was scored by Saad Hashiem at 67:36.

Marchitto added, “Once again, we got off to a slow start. We spent too much of the first half playing keep away at midfield and going nowhere. Finally, we got more creative and went on the attack in the second half.”

The Spartans held a 15-6 edge in shots. Volta made two first half saves and Jeff Curtin had three second hand stops. 

Oct 222012


Orange Live Sports Writer

 Sponsored by Resnik and Resnik

With last week’s Southern Connecticut Conference—Housatonic Division wins over Sheehan (2-0) and Lyman Hall  (2-0)  along with  a 3-3 tie with Cheshire, the Amity boys soccer  team heads into the final week of the regular season sporting an overall record  of 11-1-2 (5-1-2 against Housy opponents).

Coach Mike Marchitto claimed that playing on the Trojans’ rocky, small dirt field made it tough for the Spartans to play their fast-paced style of game. Sean Beaulieu recorded the only goal of the first half against Lyman Hall. His goal was accidentally sending it right at Beaulieu, who was breaking toward the net and he booted it home with 27 minutes, 42 seconds gone in the first half.

He added, “Lyman Hall is a tough team and playing them on their field makes things very difficult. It’s very hard to move the ball quickly as we like to do and it took us a while to adjust to the field, but in the end I thought we did a nice job.”

The score remained 1-0 until Ian O’Brien-Cannon headed in Jeremy Conn’s corner kick at 47:54.

“Ian is a beast when the ball is in the air,” Marchitto added.

Amity outshot the Trojans 11-7 and goalie Griffin Volta made seven saves.

The loss dropped the Trojans’ record to 4-6-1.

The Spartans battle with Cheshire was a see-saw affair. The Rams’ Matt Mueller opened the scoring when he beat Volta with 10 minutes gone in the game. That 1-0 lead was erased when Conn crossed the ball from left to right and Dean Schwartz sent it home at 15:30. With the game tied at 1-1, Schwartz set up Guerra with a perfect feed and he scored at 24:40 to give Amity a 2-1 lead. Muller’s goal at 36:28 evened the tally at 2-2.

Cheshire’s Nick Berardi put the Rams back on top at 58:10 but Justyn Broderick matched that score when he drilled a pass from Guerra into the right corner of the net at 66:27.

According to Marchitto, “It was as back and forth game. I’ve never defeated Cheshire twice in the same season. I thought we were too spread out and couldn’t counter in mid-field like we did in our first game with Cheshire and we didn’t play a fast enough pace. I’d say we played only a so-so game.”

Amity outshot the Rams 14-9. Volta and his Ram counterpart, Evan Colechia, each recorded five saves.

The week ended with Amity blanking Sheehan 2-0. Both Spartan scores came in the first half. Ricky Mayer’s goal (which came at 15:41) was the result of Titan goalie John Olivierra deflecting a shot and sending it right at Maher who quickly cashed it in. Austin Duffy redirected a corner kick past Oliverra at 36:52 to make it 2-0.

“I thought we played hard in the first half. We controlled about 70% of the play but Sheehan did come at us a few times. After building our two goal lead in the first half, I think we got too comfortable in the second half. Anyone that really knows soccer, knows that 2-0 is the worst lead to have,” Marchitto said. “We needed to put them away in the second half but didn’t do. We missed at least three chances to score goals in the second half. We needed to play like the Eye of the Tiger.”

He added, “I think the reason we weren’t as sharp as we should have been was a lack of practice time.  With the rain forcing us to play make-up games on open days prevented us from practicing as much as we liked and needed. We weren’t crisp.”

The Spartans outshot Sheehan 12-6 and Volta recorded five saves.

Marchitto’s boys host West Haven today at 3:45.

Sep 242012

Orange Live Sports Writer

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The Amity boys cross country team opened its dual meet season Thursday with Southern Connecticut Conference victories over Guilford (22-38), Jonathan Law (15-50) and Sheehan (15-50.) The quad meet was run on Guilford ’s three mile Middle School course.

Shae Belenski won the race in 16 minutes, 58 seconds.  Trailing him across the finish line by only one second was Guilford’s Tim Kenofick.

According to winning Coach Bob Orgovan, “After the first mile Shae led the rest of the way, generally by about 10 yards, but the Guilford kid came on strong at the end of the race.”

The Spartans’ other top runners were: Aaron Barkin (3rd—17:14), Connor Dunleavy (5th—17:33), Brian Mosher (6th—17:34), Michael Yuan (7th—17:34), Brian Dunleavy (8th—17:35), and Alex Hart (10th—17:57).

“I thought we ran well,” Orgovan said. “I know we ran better than we did in our previous race at the Windham Invitational.

We’re still third in the state. As usual we ran in a strong pack. It wasn’t an extremely fast pace but we did run better than the other 3 schools.”

Freshman Matt Arovas won the junior varsity race in 18:45.

“You will hear a lot about Matt in the next 4 years. It is really good to see a freshman win a jayvee race.”

Amity hosts Branford, East Haven and Lyman Hall in another SCC quad race on Monday at 4 PM on its Fitzgerald Trail course in Woodbridge .

Sep 222012

Amity Quarterback James Semmonella runs the ball against Sheehan Sept. 21.


Orange Live Sports Writer

 Sponsored by Stop & Go Transmissions, Bridgeport

Racking up 577 yards of total offense (543 on the ground) and scoring the first three times it had possession of the football, Amity went on to steam roll Sheehan High of Wallingford 58-14 Friday night. The Southern Connecticut Conference inter-divisional game was played at Bill Johnson Field in Woodbridge .

On the very first play of the game, Spartan quarterback James Semmonella pitched the ball to Cory Ricks at the Amity 31-yard line. He quickly scooted around his right side and raced untouched for 69 and his team’s first of 8 touchdowns.  It came with only 18 seconds gone in the game.

According to winning Coach Bert Mozealous, “We had practiced that play week and had decided to run it on our first play from scrimmage.”

Trailing 7-0 (after the first of Lyle Luth’s seven conversion kicks), Sheehan (now 1-1) struck right back.  Keyed by Sheehan quarterback Jeremy Gannon’s 46 yard screen pass to Raphael Dominngues, the Titans were perched at the Spartan 5. Three plays later, Dominguez cashed in from the 5 and Kyle Paolella added the game-tying PAT.

The deadlock did not last long. Sparked by Dave Attolino’s 28 yard scamper to the Titan 33-yard line (Paolella’s tackle prevented a touchdown). Five plays later, Ricks scored again. This time he found pay dirt on a 15 yard sprint into the end zone. It came at 6:35, gave Amity a 14-7 lead and started a string of 38 unanswered Spartan points.

Two plays after that touchdown, sophomore defensive back Tyler Burns intercepted a Gannon pass at midfield and returned it 11 yards to the Sheehan 37. Six plays later, Attolino’s 5 yard TD at 2:42 extended Amity’s lead to 21-7.

With 7:30 left in the first half, Semmonella called his own number, skirted his right end and raced away on an 82 yard keeper that upped the Spartan ante to 28-7. Later in the same session, Semmonella dove into the end zone from a yard out. With no time left on the clock, Luth closed out the first half with a 36 yard field goal that gave Amity a 38-7 at the break.

During that hectic first half, trhe Amity offense rolled up368 yards. Semmonella led the winners with 163 of those yards and 2 scores. Ricks added 95 additional yards and 2 TD’s.

“We were not happy with how we ran the ball last week (against Hand). We thought we could do a better job. I thought we ran the ball well tonight. When our offensive line comes to play, we know we can move the ball. Our backs ran hard and broke tackles,’ said Mozealous.

Picking up in third quarter right where it left of in the first half, Amity scored on its first 2 possessions. Sheehan drove deep into Spartan territory but that threat was thwarted by Joe Choiniere’s intereception at his own 12.  Four plays later, Attolino’s 65 yard jaunt opened a 45-7 lead.

After Sheehan went 3-and-out and punted the ball away. Setting up shop at his own 45-yard line, Semmonella handed the ball to Choinere and he “took it to the house” for a 55 yard touchdown and a 45-7 lead.

Starting a midfield, Gannon picked up 23 yards on his toss to Kyle Lorenzo and a first down at the Amity 27. Three plays later Gannon found Bruce Rutkowski in the end zone and hit him with a 10 yard scoring strike.

Leading 52-14 as the fourth quarter got underway, the Spartans closed out its offensive barrage on Dave Buono’s 36 yard run.

Mozealous added, “We know we are a good team and a hard running team. Everybody knows we are going to run the ball. If you stop us, we’ll run somewhere else. We made some defensive mistakes in the second quarter that we need to clean up and need to improve our communication skills, but we’re getting there. It was a job tonight by the offense. We did what we wanted to do and kept playing hard throughout the game.”

Included in the winners’ 577 yards of total offense, 170 belonged to Semmonella. Attolino accounted for 128 yards and Ricks chipped in with 95 first half yards.

The 1-1 Spartans visit Shelton next Friday for a 7 PM SCC Division I contest at Finn Stadium.