ILIndoor Top 50: Cory Vitarelli #34

Cory Vitarelli (23) does whatever needs to be done to create scoring chances. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Cory Vitarelli (23) does whatever needs to be done to create scoring chances. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Cory Vitarelli has made a bit of a name for himself because of his flair for the dramatic. Whether he’s got the ball in his stick for the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks of the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse, this left-hander out of Peterborough is a highlight reel waiting to happen every single time. Whether it’s cleaning up a rebound with a behind-the-head shot on the crease, diving from the back of the crease, or bulling his way through traffic to shoot as he’s falling to the rug, Vitarelli’s goals often are a reward for the hard work he put into getting that chance. But the reason he’s on ILIndoor’s list of Top 50 goes beyond the goals. Because whether the ball is in his stick or not, his work ethic does not know the difference.

If the ball is on the rug and in the corner, it’s a safe bet you’ll find Vitarelli nearby. And if the ball is in a teammate’s stick, don’t look for Vitarelli to be in the vicinity. Because off the ball, he’s somewhere else on the floor, setting a pick, running a cut or doing whatever else it takes to clear space.

Sometimes, he’ll use that open area for himself to receive the pass, and finish. Others, he’ll be plowing real estate for teammates to get a good look. But know this: This Vitarelli kid would sooner outwork you than outscore you. It just so happens to benefit the Knighthawks and Lakers that he knows what to do with the ball when it’s in his stick. He scored 25 goals for Rochester, second-most on the team, to help lead the Knighthawks to a second straight NLL title. And in Peterborough, he scored 18 goals in a lineup crowded with offensive superstars (He was one of 5 Lakers with 18 or more goals in 2013).

Sure, he’s got 61 goals in 37 career regular-season NLL games and 47 goals in 46 career MSL games, but his 3 titles (2 NLL, 1 Mann Cup) since 2012 speak much louder. So yeah, Vitarelli can get you goals. But he can also help you win championships, the ultimate barometer of any game.

ILIndoor’s take

“He’s played just two full seasons and averaged 27 goals in them. Vitarelli is a big-bodied banger who will do whatever he can to help his team win. He scores big goals, often coming in bunches, but his greatest contribution may be his dogged battling for loose balls to create second-chance offensive possessions.” – Stephen Stamp

“Vitarelli’s one of the most exciting players to watch in the game today. From the stands, you can almost ‘hear’ his work being done and no matter what his drive to the cage may accomplish, you know he couldn’t have tried any harder. He leaves it all on the floor and that’s all anyone — coaches, teammates and fans — asks for from any player.” – Bob Chavez

Top 50

No. 50: Aaron Bold
No. 49: Brad Self
No. 48: Jesse Gamble
No. 47: Rory Smith
No. 46: Kiel Matisz
No. 45: Lewis Ratcliff
No. 44: Johnny Powless
No. 43: Tyler Hass
No. 42: Sid Smith
No. 41: Brett Mydske
No. 40: Stephan Leblanc
No. 39: Kevin Ross
No. 38: Jeff Moleski
No. 37: Drew Westervelt
No. 36: Jeff Gilbert
No. 35: Ryan Ward

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