By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/16/11
Last weekend Lehigh competed in the 5th annual Nick Colleluori Classic at Ridley High.
The event has helped the HEADstrong Foundation raise over $1 million to fight blood cancer in honor of Nick “HEAD” Colleluori, a former Ridley great who passed away five years ago after a 14-month fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while playing for Hofstra University.
The event featured 10 men’s teams competing over a two-day period. Lehigh was one of nine Division I teams to play in Saturday’s Division I event, which drew more than 5,000 people to Nick’s high school.
The Mountain Hawks of coach Kevin Cassese dropped a 2-1 decision to Hofstra an a 9-6 defeat to Towson. But on-the-field action was only a part of the day’s events.
The Mountain Hawks spoke about their support of the HEADstrong Foundation’s cause as well as their junior goalie, Dan Carr (Penn Charter), who lost his father, popular team and Philly lacrosse supporter Dan Carr Sr., to brain cancer earlier this year. They also reflected on the importance of the fight against blood cancer and the importance of Nick Colleluori’s legacy.
Lehigh players and Coach Cassese gave these comments on the event:
Sophomore attackman Matt Smith (Conestoga):
“It’s a great tournament and we’re honored to be invited. We lost one of our teammate’s father to cancer this year and we have him in our memories.
“They raise a lot of money for cancer research and that’s the goal.
“This tournament sums up everything about the fall. It’s bringing everyone together and seeing what we can do. Our team chemistry is there.”
Junior midfielder Jack Bogorowski (La Salle):
“I have been exposed to the HEADstrong Foundation since Jr. High and it’s a great event and a great cause. It’s a real honor to come here and play all these teams – especially Hofstra, the host team.
“Our game against Hofstra was low-scoring – it’s the beginning of the season and both teams were trying to iron things out.
“It’s great to compete, but more importantly it’s something I’ve watched grow into a major lacrosse event in the nation.”
Junior goalie Dan Carr (Penn Charter):
“Throughout the whole process of my dad’s illness, the HEADstrong Foundation helped us so much. From as little a thing as finding out information, they were so helpful to our family. I can imagine in the blood cancer world, there are so many ways they help people.
“We take so much pride in playing here. To do it for this cause is a testament to the Colleluoris and Nick’s name.”
Coach Kevin Cassese:
“First off, it’s a great event for us, and for everybody. It’s a great cause, obviously, and we’re happy to be a part of it, and thank the Colleluori family for having us.
“As far as a lacrosse event, it can’t be any better. It’s phenomenal to have back-to-back-to-back action for any lacrosse fan. It’s a no-brainer to watch games. For us as a team it’s a good chance to evaluate everybody on the roster that is available. We found out about various guys and what to do about our next segment.
“The one thing is does is give you an incredible perspective. For us around here, we are playing lacrosse and going through life and doing everything we can do to be successful.
“Now we get, for a moment, a chance to step outside of that and realize there are people out there really suffering from blood cancer or cancer in general. They are fighting every single day. Our trials and tribulations are much smaller in the grand scheme of things.”