Class of 1983
Vera Pizzarelli, Class of 1983, was among the brightest of the shining lights during an era of exceptional success for Green Wave girls’ athletics during the early 1980s. Among her many accomplishments was excellence for field hockey and softball teams which earned Western Connecticut Conference championships.
AHOF inductee coach Fran Zaloski described Vera as “innovative” and a “lifesaver” for her contributions as goaltender for three years. That memorable tenure included a sophomore season in which she shared goaltending duties with talented classmate Leslie Westfall on their way to a WCC title.
Vera etched a remarkable record as the defensive backstop for the Green Wave. Her teams built a 38-8-7 record, won two WCC titles, finished runner-up the other season, and twice advanced to the state tournament finals.
For her efforts, Vera was twice a first-team all-state selection back when all-staters represented all school sizes. She also was twice a first-team all-WCC honoree.
The legendary Coach Z called Vera the best goaltender she had during her more than three decades as Green Wave field hockey coach. She attributed Vera’s success in part to a ”cool, calm and collected” demeanor in the nets. She also praised Vera for being “a real team player” who “gave 100 percent.”
Along the way, Vera gave opponents fits.
As a junior, she registered 10 shutouts, including a 1-0 whitewashing of Berkshire League power Wamogo, which had been riding a 42-match unbeaten streak.
Come state tournament time, Vera lifted the Green Wave past E.O. Smith, 1-0, and Rippowam of Stamford, 2-1, before Cheshire’s uber-talented Wendi Kemp scored her 91st career goal to deliver a heartbreaking, 1-0 overtime state final loss to Vera and Co.
As a senior, Vera permitted just three goals the rest of the campaign after an early-season, 3-1 loss to Wamogo. Overall, she and her '82 teammates owned a remarkable 34-6 goals for/goals against cushion.
She anchored a 0-0 deadlock with arch-rival Pomperaug, made what coach Zaloski termed “super saves” during a 1-0 win over Weston, and capped an 11-0-1 WCC regular season with a 3-0 victory over Immaculate, extending to 10 matches a streak during which she permitted only a single “fluke” goal vs. Newtown.
Perhaps her most memorable performance was stopping 12 of 13 penalty strokes by Weston during an overtime, WCC playoff semifinal win. Vera then iced another WCC championship for the Green Wave by shutting down Pomperaug, 1-0, in the title match.
Once the calendar turned around to the spring season, Vera for three years brought superb athleticism and competitive desire to her responsibilities as standout defensive centerfielder and dangerous leadoff batter for Green Wave softball.
Equally adept at beating out bunts and drilling extra-base hits in the gaps, she batted .347 as a junior while sparking the much-improved Green Wave to an overall 11-7 record.
The pieces all came together for coach Bill Kraft’s diamond nine during Vera’s senior season, as she played a significant role with the glove and at the plate. A 7-4 semifinal win over Newtown and a 5-0 title-game schneid of Immaculate lifted Vera and her teammates to a coveted WCC championship.
Vera stroked three hits as the Green Wave opened the state ‘L’ tournament with a 5-3 conquest of Foran of Milford, but a 5-3 quarterfinal loss to Note Dame of Fairfield closed the books on the season.
For her senior year, Vera ripped 37 hits for a .435 batting average, and scored 31 runs.
In spite of a 4-14 softball record during her sophomore season, Vera’s high school teams sported a glossy 70-33-7 ledger for three years.