KINDERHOOK – On February 7, Ichabod Crane senior Justyn Verbraska signed his National Letter of Intent to play soccer for St. Rose. The Golden Knights, an NCAA Division II college, play in the Northeast 10, one of the premier soccer conferences in Division II.
The opportunity for more than just soccer helped Justyn to make his choice. “I chose St. Rose because of the great education I could get while playing soccer there” he said, “plus their nice turf field was a bonus.”
Justyn was also courted by SUNY New Paltz, Union College and SUNY Plattsburgh before deciding on St. Rose.
A three year started at centerback, anchoring the state champion Riders defense, Justyn is a two time First Team All Colonial Council selection and was named to the Second Team All-State this season.
This season’s NYS Class B State title run was redemption for Justyn and his teammates. “It was a great feeling to win the state title this year after not being able to get the sectional title the two previous years,” Justyn said.
Justyn followed up the state title with a title in a new sport for him, volleyball, and the transition from the soccer pitch to the volleyball court was not the easiest one.
“It was weird at first to not even be remotely good at a sport. I’m used to it just coming naturally with soccer, but with volleyball I had to work my butt off to be even a remotely good volleyball player,” he said.
The addition of Justyn to the depleted volleyball team helped to lead the Riders to their third straight regional title, the furthest a New York State boys’ winter volleyball team can advance.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my high school career,” he said.
Coming into this season Justyn couldn’t pinpoint what he would miss the most about playing high school sports, but his final seasons helped him figure it out, “the chemistry the team had, I think that’s the reason we won the state title” he said, “how much time the team spent together and how well we could all get along on and off the field.”
Planning to major in Mathematics with an eye towards becoming an Actuary, Verbraska has kept his early expectations low, while aiming high for his four year career at St. Rose. “I am expecting to maybe see a little bit of time on the field my first season, but I want to take that time to prove myself as a player while working hard in practice to become a better player. As for long term,I want to eventually be able to be a starter and maybe I can help the team become one of the top teams in the Northeast 10.”.