Knights’ Bonner earns All-State recognition

Taylor Bonner Taylor Bonner Taylor Bonner, of Old Bridge High School (OBHS), certainly made a name for himself on the lacrosse field.

Bonner was named First Team All-State by the New Jersey Interscholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association, while also being named to the Greater Middlesex Conference First Team. In addition, he was a Curcio Division First Team All-Star.

The senior midfielder also reached the landmark of 100 career goals this season, playing under first-year head coach Anthony Lanzafama. While the Knights, comprised of mostly underclassmen, fell short of their goal of reaching the state playoffs with a 6-12 record, the stellar play and leadership displayed by Bonner and his fellow upperclassmen has given Lanzafama the building blocks and a foundation for next season.

Often attracting double-teams and the constant attention of opposing teams, Bonner still managed to lead his team in goals (46), assists (28) and a stellar mark of 204 ground balls, scoring in every game but one. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player, while also receiving the Ground Ball Award.

Among the other Old Bridge players to receive awards were Dave Rieder, the Ultimate Teammate Award; Alex Tierso, the Hustle Award; and Pat Melillo, the Spirit Award.

This season, with a young, inexperienced team, Bonner switched from attack to the midfield, where he felt he could provide more for the team. On top of his offensive skills, Bonner certainly had a knack for defensive play, having been the starting safety on the Old Bridge football team in the fall.

Bonner got the lacrosse bug after watching his older brother, Mike, play lacrosse for one of the first Old Bridge lacrosse teams, which had a total of 24 players. That number has since swelled to over 90 trying out for the team this year.

He started playing lacrosse in the seventh grade with the township’s youth feeder program, the Old Bridge Lacrosse Association, headed by Bob and Irene Ritz. Bob Ritz also organizes a fall and winter indoor team for high school players, and Bonner credits Ritz for giving him the opportunity to play lacrosse early in his youth and laying the groundwork for the type of player he has become.

Bob Ritz’s son, Eric, a former star at OBHS, is the head coach at St. John Vianney, a team that just completed its first season of varsity lacrosse.

With his high school career now at an end, Bonner will be heading to Rutgers University in the fall, where he will continue his playing days as a member of John Stagnitta’s Scarlet Knights lacrosse program.