CONCORD >> Pay attention, and you’ll start seeing it everywhere.
Outside of The Haverford School lacrosse team’s locker room, there’s Kip Taviano’s locker door, hanging in a frame. In the room, you can find Taviano’s locker, which is given every year to a senior who best personifies sportsmanship, friendliness, humor, loyalty, dedication, heart and compassion for teammates and others.
Take a look outside of the Taviano home, right next to Garnet Valley High, and you’ll see the #10ve white and purple stickers on their cars. Take three steps inside and you can find a framed Furman jersey, as well as framed team photos of the Furman men’s lacrosse team. The latter was a gift to Jim Taviano, Kip’s father, on Senior Day for the Paladins’ program’s first graduating class.
That’s just the start of it, though. Anywhere you look in the local lacrosse world, you’ll find a reminder of the impact that Kip Taviano had. The Haverford School senior was a week away from graduating in 2013 when he was killed in a two-car accident on Smithbridge Road. He had helped the Fords to the 2013 Inter-Ac Invitational championship and was recruited to be a part of the first Furman class along with his best friend and Garnet Valley alum, Jon Vandenberg.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy,” said Ellen Taviano, Kip’s mother. “After it happened, though, we wanted to turn it into something positive. That’s the way that Kip was. He was so positive and happy and always joking around and we wanted to reflect that.”
The family started the Kip Tav 10VE Lacrosse Celebration, which takes place Saturday from 8:30-6 for the fourth consecutive year. Fittingly enough, the day takes place on the 10VE Field at 43 Thornton Road in Concord Township. The field was dedicated by the township and the Brandywine Youth Club, the Garnet Valley-area club where Taviano played growing up, often for his dad.
The event includes boys and girls youth clinics, U11 games, an alumni game for both men and women, as well as a high school boys’ game. Full event information can be found at www.10ve.net.
“I’m really happy with how much it’s grown,” Vandenberg said. “It’s a day that he would have wanted to be a part of and it’s an annual event in remembrance. It’s a good thing for a lot of people.”
Last week, Maggie Taviano graduated and received her diploma from the University of Delaware. She was a part of two state champion teams at Garnet Valley, and while she didn’t play in college, she’s never too far from lacrosse.
Her graduation was also a not-so-subtle reminder that it’s been four years since that accident. Kip would have been graduating from Furman, where he would have been a part of Team One. There’s a decent 10ve presence at Delaware, and one day, Maggie saw someone wearing a 10ve shirt at the gym. Her friends convinced her to go find out more about how the stranger knew her brother. As it turns out, he didn’t know Kip, but as a Garnet Valley student, he wanted to support the cause.
“I think people are really genuinely excited to meet us, even when they don’t know us,” she said. “It has expanded to my roomates and their friends, and (Garnet Valley All-Delco) Coley Ricci plays on the women’s lacrosse team and her friends want to know and be involved. It’s amazing how much it expanded from selling T-shirts outside of games, and now, (younger sister) Emma doesn’t go a day without seeing them and I can see them at Delaware. Nobody knows who I am there, but I see the shirt and it’s really cool.”
Emma will be busy Saturday with her quest to be the third Taviano to win a championship as she and the Jaguars take on defending state champion Conestoga in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals at 3 p.m. at West Chester East. Like her sister, she’s also a defender, a stark contrast from their brother’s career as an attackman.
Although he wasn’t a star at Haverford, he was one of the most well-liked members of the team, and he’s been able to leave a lasting impact on the school that he cherished so much. Go to a Fords game and there’s a good chance head coach John Nostrant and his coaching staff are wearing something to remember Taviano. Multiple players have #10ve taped to their helmets, too.
The locker has featured recipients like All-Delco Noah Lejman (Penn) and Brendan O’Neill (Johns Hopkins), Mosebrook and 2018 recipient Jack Denious. Haverford School, with the Tavianos’ blessing, has brought No. 10 out of retirement, with Mosebrook — also a Furman commit — wearing the number this year. Furman did the same thing, and it was a natural fit for Vandenberg to be the one to wear his friend’s jersey. The locker is given every year at a ceremony and part of the gift the Tavianos give is a bag of Reese’s, which was Kip’s favorite candy.
“It absolutely meant a lot to wear the jersey,” Vandenberg said. “It’s an honor to wear it and it’s one of the best things I’ve gotten to do in my life. It makes me not take life for granted, even if I’d get tired or just not feeling it some days. It made me a better player, too, with the motivation to think of him every time I wore it.”
The family also endows a scholarship, given to someone who’s at least a sophomore. This year’s recipient is Bobby Gibson. An inside linebacker in football, hockey forward and lacrosse defenseman and defensive midfielder. Gibson will keep that scholarship for another year until he graduates.
“We wanted it to be at least a sophomore, because that way, it gives teachers who are involved an opportunity to get to know the kids and to be able to pick out a kid who really deserves it,” Jim said.
Saturday’s celebration will be another opportunity for the lacrosse community to show off how close-knit it is. Expect to see people from Garnet Valley to the Main Line, from Ridley to Chester County and everywhere in between as lacrosse brings together family and friends.
Everyone will be there to show their #10VE.