Checking in at 76th on our SU Top 100 list is another Orange lacrosse legend.
Maybe overshadowed because of the prowess of his teammates, John Zulberti has one of the most decorated legacies of any Syracuse lacrosse player.
As a two-time national champion, Zulberti was a part of the powerhouse teams in the late 80’s. He led the team in assists in each of his four seasons and won back-to-back national championships in his junior and senior seasons to close out his super impressive Orange career.
Prior to winning national championships at SU, Zulberti was a local star at West Genesee High School where he racked up 258 points in his final two seasons.
When Zulberti got to campus, his impact was immediate. He had one of his top scoring seasons of his career as a true freshman, racking up 33 goals to go along with 41 assists for a program record for a freshman of 74 points. Thanks to these contributions in 1986, the Orange set a program record for points in a season with 458. That eclipsed the previous high mark of 453 set two years prior.
In the record books, Zulberti ranks second all-time in SU history with 158 career assists. It certainly helps to have some of the greatest lacrosse players ever as teammates. Zulberti played alongside Gary Gait, Tom Marechek and Paul Gait, all of which ended their careers as members of the decorated 200 point club at SU. While Zulberti’s goal totals are the lowest among those four, his point total is highest thanks to his ability not only to distribute, but also to score. He ranks sixth all-time in points in program history.
Zulberti’s legacy is among Syracuse lacrosse’s elite. He maxed out his All-American trophy case by being acknowledged all four years. At the time, he was only the second player in SU history to achieve that feat, immediately following the four year run of Brad Kotz. That list has since ballooned to 13 total names, three of which were teammates of Zulberti. He also was a two-time winner of the Turnbull Award for the best attackman in the country in his final two seasons.
In the national championship seasons, Zulberti helped power SU to an undefeated run in 1988 and a 14-1 campaign the following season. He led the team in scoring in 1989 while also serving as the team captain.
The lasting legacy of Zulberti is as a winner and one of the greatest lacrosse players in Orange history. While he may not receive the same recognition that some of his teammates did, his contributions cannot be ignored for helping to build the groundwork for a dominant SU program in the 1980’s.
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