By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/13/09
Host Hofstra University has released the 12-team field for the inaugural Nick Colleluori Women’s Lacrosse Classic on Saturday, Sept. 26 in Hempstead, N.Y.
The Fall Ball event was created this year by Hofstra and the HEADstrong Foundation to coincide with the annual Nick Colleluori Classic, the men’s tourney now in its third year. That event will be held Oct. 10-11 at Ridley High, the alma mater of the late Nick Colleluori, a former Hofstra player.
The Women’s classic will feature six Division I schools (Hofstra, Albany, Connecticut, Iona, Long Island and Massachusetts), four Division II schools (Adelphi, Bentley, C.W. Post and Stonehill) and two post-graduate teams (New York Athletic Club and the Lady Lizards, a team comprised mostly of Hofstra alums).
Colleluori was a popular player at Hofstra who passed away in November of 2006 after a 14-month fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In less than three years, the HEADstrong Foundation has raised over $750,000 for blood cancer research through proceeds from the Classic, other events and sales of their widely-popular lime green gear such as laces, sticks and helmets as well as T-shirts.
The women’s event will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and feature 40-minute games (20-minute running halves). Each team will play four games. The schedule will be announced at a later date. Each team will be provided with lime green laces to be worn during the tournament to show their support.
Morgan, a 1997 Great Valley High (Pa.) graduate who starred at UConn under current Temple coach Bonnie Rosen, said Hofstra had already been holding a tourney on the final weekend of September for many years. That fact, and the school’s affection to Nick Colleluori’s legacy, made it easy to create the Women’s Classic.
“This is the perfect way to keep it on that weekend,” said Morgan, who has worked closely with HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori to develop the event. “We’ll keep it in the same format we’ve had, and we’ll add the component of HEADstrong. Cheryl really wanted to get into the women’s side and this is something we want to do.”
Hofstra will use three fields; its stadium field and two grass fields. Admission will be free, but donations will be accepted for HEADstrong and T-shirts and other HEADstrong items will be on sale. All 12 teams also will sell T-shirts as soon as they return to school or begin fall practices.
Morgan said the women’s program has remained close to the HEADstrong cause since Colleluori’s death. She noted that both programs rallied behind Colleluori’s younger brother Michael, who graduated this spring as both an All-American and an Academic All-American as well as a Lowe’s Senior CLASS finalist.
“Obviously, Michael is just graduating, so we’ve been able to keep the tradition going,” Morgan said. “I was here when Nick passed away and obviously our players were close with him.
“He was that kind of person everybody knew and that everybody had a soft spot for. When they had the funeral (in Pennsylvania), we had a bus for the men’s team and our team as well that went down.”
The Hofstra lacrosse office, which houses both the men and women’s teams, features five framed jerseys (No. 27) to honor Nick Colleluori. Hofstra men’s coach Seth Tierney, whose team always participates in the Nick Colleluori Classic, has been a major supporter of the HEADstrong cause. Now, Morgan is pleased to share in the involvement.
“We have white and blue Nick Colleluori framed jerseys in our office space overlooking the field,” said Morgan. “There are white, blue and gold jerseys for the men and all five are side-by-side in our office space.
“We’ve continued the legacy, and Cheryl has been fabulous involving the women. In past years, our women’s team has gone down (to Ridley) for the men’s event with their T-shirts and laces.”
Morgan said Nick Colleluori’s trademark word, ‘relentless,’ clearly fits the browth of HEADstrong and its support.
“I think one thing that is really neat about HEADstrong is how it’s grown throughout the lacrosse scene,” she said. “I don’t think there was one girls’ club tournament I went to in the summer where I did not see someone with a (HEADstrong) T-shirt or laces. Everywhere you go you see the word ‘relentless.’
“It’s not something that has fizzled. The legacy really has continued to grow all over the country. Now, our biggest push is to get the community involved. This will be the first time the Hofstra campus is getting involved and we want to push this with the youth in the area.”