Hello From The Future: Robbie Zonino

With all of Michigan’s 2012 commitments profiled (you can find your way to all of those posts from this one), it’s time to move on to 2013. Up first: Conestoga (Pa.) G Robbie Zonino.

Robbie Zonino Conestoga Pioneers Michigan Wolverines Lacrosse

Zonino in action. Photo appears courtesy of PhillyLacrosse.com.

Relevant Articles

Let’s start with the original Inside Lacrosse commitment story just over a year ago:

An extremely quick-handed keeper that also excels in the clearing game, Zonino had a superb season as the Pioneers’ starter, leading ‘Stoga to a second straight state title. In the summer, he played in several events with the Dukes and represented Philly at the Under Armour Underclass games.

IL ranks him the No. 35 player in the 2013 class.

The Philly Lacrosse commitment article has some details about all the rad things he’s done:

Starter on 2011 state championship team, member of Team Philly at Under Armour Underclassmen Games, Gait Fab 40 MVP at Philly Showcase, 2010, named as No. 35 Rising Junior Young Gun by Inside Lacrosse; ESPNRise goalies to watch from class of 2013; ESPNRise player of the week, March 2011 for game against Boys’ Latin; Rookie of the year, Conestoga Varsity – 2011.

His profile from the Dukes website gives a bit of detail, including a 5-11, 165-pound frame. Not huge for a goalie, but adequate size. You can see tons and tons of photos at the Conestoga website, as well as a listing of his high school honors.

At the Philly Boys’ lacrosse showcase, he was named defensive MVP after making 11 saves. In the fall of his sophomore year he was the team defensive MVP for Dukes Lacrosse Club at a tournament.

Zonino got his first playing time as a sophomore, filling in (and admirably so) for injured starter John Lopes – which led to the sophomore splitting time in net over the course of the season. He was the hero of an upset win over Boys’ Latin. Inside Lacrosse raved about him after that game:

The defense did a great job pressuring BL’s well oiled machine of an offense, and Robbie Zonino, the sophomore goalie, gobbled up everything in sight as he finished with 18 saves.

Though they didn’t give much detail other than that one of the goals against probably didn’t cross the goal line (photo of the play in question).

Shocker of the century: he’s capable of being “excellent” in net. An in-game blog from Philly Lacrosse points out some of his abilities:

C-Zonino makes three straight saves on high-percentage shots, 2:50
C-Zonino another big save, 2:15

Stopping point-blank shots appears to be something of a specialitySee (seriously)? (Insert joke about playing behind the 2011 Michigan defense here).

ESPNHS mentioned that Zonino would have his work cut out for him against a strong Garden City (N.J.) squad in April, and the keeper couldn’t quite deliver his team to the victory. “Fantastic,” etc. etc. He was on the ESPNHS watchlist before ESPN killed off their high school arm.

This spring, he “came up big” in Conestoga’s win over Calvert Hall (Md.).

He was only honorable mention All-League as a junior, partially on account of giving up some playing time to teammate Brody Shea.

He split time in net (though he was listed as the player to watch for) for a Philly team that took home the Under Armour Underclassmen Games championship.

He was “outstanding” in Conestoga’s PIAA Championship victory. The live blog evidence:

Zonino great save on Schaal in tight, 6:40
Zonino another great save – that’s 4 already in this period

Zonino another amazing save on McNamara – splits to his right, with buzzer sounding, no rebound!

Zonino another big save!, :50

Video highlights of that game on Lax.com. He entered in the second half and “put on the clamps.”

He stood out for the sophomores at the 2010 Philly All-Star something or other:

Radnor attack Michael Cherry scored a pair of goals to be named offensive MVP of the sophomore game. But the player that stole the show was Conestoga sophomore goalie Robbie Zonino was the defensive MVP, coming up with a numerous nice saves.

“It was a good day, and I had a good amount of energy going,” said Zonino, who had 12 saves. “I knew the college coaches were watching. I try to ignore it. I just like to think of it as just playing. I would be out there even if there weren’t any college coaches watching.”

Hooray.

Other Interest

From the IL article:

He also strongly considered Georgetown and UMass.

Those are a couple pretty strong programs, and not bad competition to beat out for a kid. According to his Dukes profile, Navy, Loyola, North Carolina, and UVa were also involved.

Teammates of Note

Conestoga is something of a powerhouse. For the record, the goalie prior to Zonino was… Zonino. Older brother Pete now suits up for Hobart. It’s also clear that the Conestoga coaches seem to prefer splitting time between the pipes – they’ve done it at least the last three years, even when one keeper was clearly better.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll start with the players who graduated after Zonino’s sophomore year, his first on varsity. Six 2011 grads went to Division-1 colleges, including two to Duke. That number includes Lopes, with whom Zonino split time as a sophomore (and all indications are was at least as impressive) and went on to Penn. Four more Conestoga players went on to D-3 careers.

In this spring’s graduating class, eight players went on to sign with Division-1 colleges, including three to Drexel, two to Maryland, and one each from Notre Dame, Duke, and Delaware. Three more are headed to Division-3. That the graduates include only two defensive players (Drezel-bound LSM Miles Thomas and future Duke Blue Devil Jamie Ikeda) speaks to the quality of Zonino’s goalkeeping this year, rather than reliance upon a strong D.

In Zonino’s own class, three players have already made verbal commitments. The two others are both longpoles, Scott Carson headed to Delaware, and Tim Langerhans to Army. You can bet by Signing Day next spring, there will be several more names on that list.

His club team with Dukes also includes future Michigan teammate Stefan Bergman (LSM), and a defenseman by the name of Alex Anzalone, who will play football at Notre Dame.

Video

Youtube is surprisingly sparse on Zonino highlights, but you can see him make a save against Calvert Hall:

There are also a few full-game reels on Kudda.com, including Conestoga’s win over Calvert Hall this spring.

You can see an awkward interview with ESPN and Kudda.com’s Booker Corrigan after he was named player of the game against Boys’ Latin as a sophomore.

The Upshot

So, uh, Zonino is like, really really good. Obviously that’s an excellent sign for Michigan in terms of upgrading the overall talent on the roster. He’s also two classes behind the guy who started as a freshman, and one class behind another guy who might take over this spring.

That’s a crowded depth chart, even for a guy this talented (don’t worry, Michigan has their ’14 and ’15 goalies committed already, too). Under normal circumstances, I could see Zonino redshirting as a freshman, but since he’ll be just the third D-1-caliber goalie on the roster, that probably won’t happen. He’s an excellent ball-stopper, and though he got one brief shoutout for his clearing ability above, I don’t think it’s a strength of his game.

Zonino should see playing time from the get-go, and although he might not get a starting nod right away, he has the talent to be eased into the lineup – and then not removed. While I like both Emil Weiss and Gerald Logan as goalies, Zonino could be the first star keeper in Michigan’s varsity history.

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