By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/11/08
The Hofstra lacrosse tam was decked out in lime green shorts, sticks, helmets, numbers and, of course, laces, in honor of Nick Colleluori.
And in their final game Saturday in the 2nd Annual Nick Colleluori Classic at Ridley High, the Pride made Nick proud.
After a subpar effort four hours earlier against Loyola, Hofstra handily defeated national power Maryland in one of the marquee night games of the 12-hour tournament to benefit blood cancer research.
The event, of course, was special to Hofstra because it was being played at the home field where Nick won three state championships as a member of the Ridley Raiders. Colleluori then went to Hofstra and was a popular member of the lacrosse team before being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Colleluori passed away on Nov. 28, 2006 at the age of 21, but his dream of helping raise awareness and finding a cure for blood cancer spawned the HEADstrong Foundation. Saturday, the event attracted an estimated 10,000 people and will raise more than $200,000 for blood cancer research.
The foundation has adopted the lime green color to signify Nick’s fight. Last season the sales of lime green laces helped raise over $25,000; for Hofstra, the color means even more.
“Nick means so much to this team and we went out there truly inspired by him and what he had brought to this program,” said Pride junior long-stick midfielder Joe Caven, a Pennsbury graduate “We definitely tried to go out there and lay it all on the line.
“Although he is not here, he is truly remembered. The lime green doesn’t go far away even when we’re off the field. A lot of guys wear lime green shorts around campus and we definitely live through him, still.”
Last year the Pride all wore jerseys with No. 27, Nick’s playing number. This year their jerseys all said C-O-L-L-E-L-U-O-R-I on the back.
“We just want him to be with us,” Caven said. “What he meant to the program we’ll never forget. It’s a little token to keep him in our minds and make sure we’re doing he right thing.
Hofstra coach Seth Tierney, who has been credited for his heavy support for the Classic even though he never got to coach Nick, was emotional after the final game.
“Today, I asked for one thing: a ‘Nick Colleluori effort.’ We did not get it in the middle game (against Loyola). I got it in the last game.
“And that’s what it was all about. It had nothing to do about winning or losing. It was for Nick and to play like he played every time he stepped on this field.
“And we challenged the guys. We got our feelings hurt a little in the second game and then we came back and played relentless.”
Tierney said Hofstra’s program has been shaped by Nick Colleluori.
“Nick had a huge impact on our program,” he said. “I never got to coach him, but I met him five or six times and he inspired him. I was taken aback by everything and everybody’s feelings towards him.”