By Matthew De George
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/10/10
The following are comments made by a sampling of players and coaches from the Division I day of action Saturday at the 4th annual Nick Colleluori classic at Ridley High.
The event – which raises money and awareness in the fight against blood cancer – continues today with 10 Division II and Division III teams playing two games each from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Check these links for earlier stories on the event: general information and reaction, mourning for the passing of Bellarmine coach Jack McGetrick and triumphant story of Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante.
Villanova junior defenseman/LSM Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep graduate), a former member of Team HEADstrong club: “I had a great experience there. I didn’t know Nick personally, but I know his family and they’re just awesome. It’s just a special thing that they can come out here and raise so much money for such a special cause. It’s awesome that we can be a part of this.”
St. Joseph’s senior defenseman Keith Belson (Strath Haven): “Coming back, especially going to Strath Haven, is a huge thing for me. There’s a huge rivalry between the schools. I can clearly remember competing on this field, playing with a lot of my good friends, so that means a lot to me.”
“We’re trying to redefine our team. We didn’t have the greatest of years last year, and we’re really looking to prove ourselves this year and be a legitimate threat. As a team, we’ve been here since the first year of HEADstrong. We’re all about the cause and raising awareness. Coach (Pat Cullinan) made it clear what this tournament means to everyone involved.”
Mount St. Mary’s sophomore midfielder Daniel Stranix (Ridley, played for team HEADstrong): “This is a great program. It’s raised a lot of money for cancer research, and it’s one of the premier tournaments in the country with great teams like us, Cornell, and Hofstra. It’s a great time for a great cause.
“It’s great to be back because I get to bring my new friends from college here and play and I get to see all my old friends from high school and my old coaches. It’s such a great mix to get this much recognition from my new team and for my high school. Nick was about 5 years older than me. I met him a couple times because he came down to help coach me. I’m fortunate enough to play with his brother Mike (coach Michael Colleluori, HEADstrong head coach) on my summer team.”
St. Joseph’s head coach Pat Cullinan: “It’s hard to put it into words. We’ve had a great experience every year. The crowd seems into it. It’s a festive atmosphere. We’re together for a cause.
Lehigh (three-time participant) coach Kevin Cassese: “It’s great to see event continue to grow. We now have 20 teams participating and we’re happy to be a part of it. It’s really a first-class event; for us there’s so many people close to us that have been affected by cancer. We had kids put their hands up in the locker room the other day and about 70 percent of the team had someone in their family that had a run-in with the disease.
“As a team that was a good run for us (after rallying for a 9-6 win over Towson in the opener). I didn’t know how we would play; I was impressed with the way we battled back. I wanted to see a good early test for a young team and see what we’re made of.”