By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/25/11
Since its inception, Meagan DiCave and Kristin Milewski have been huge supporters of the HEADstrong Foundation and its fight against blood cancer.
But they always wanted to do more.
Now, as the coaches of the first HEADstrong Girls’ Lacrosse Club team, the Ridley High graduates have indeed taken the next step.
DiCave (Class of 1998) and Milewski (Class of 1997) recently spoke about the formation of the team at the 5th annual Nick Colleluori Classic held at Ridley High. The event brought 19 teams to the home of Nick Colleluori, who passed away five years ago despite a valiant fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Nick’s HEADstrong Foundation soon formed a boys’ club team that has grown into a force in the Philly region and beyond. Players also perform service, participate in fundraising events and spread awareness to follow the mission of the HEADstrong Foundation, which has raised more than $1 million for blood cancer research and development.
This year the Foundation decided to start a girls’ program and both DiCave – the former coach at Wesley College and Holy Family University – and Milewski, a former assistant at Rosemont, were anxious to be involved.
The HEADstrong team began playing this fall after holding tryouts in September. The squad features 20 girls in the classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015 and players are from eight high schools, and as far away as York County’s Dover High and Berks County’s Exeter High.
At the Nick Colleluori Classic, the team members, in uniform, served as volunteers. For DiCave and Milewski, it has been a dream fulfilled.
“I had been involved with HEADstrong and I am captivated to be a part of Nick’s vision,” DiCave said. “I had lived in Virginia and moved back here last December. I had told my mom I wanted to start a HEADstrong team and that I wanted to present it.
“Two weeks later (HEADstrong Vice President) Michael (Colleluori) called me and asked me to be a coach. It was too crazy. It was just perfect.”
The team will continue next summer with a full tournament schedule. DiCave and Milewski are hoping numbers expand and that more teams can eventually be added. The players that tried out for the first squad all had much knowledge of the HEADstrong Foundation and its purpose.
“I always admired Nick’s story,” Milewski said. “I have come to the Nick Colleluori Classic every year and I thought that coaching this team was the best way of giving back.
“Meagan asked me if I was interested in coaching with her and I was truly honored. At tryouts we learned that most of the girls knew about the Foundation and that’s what motivated them to try out.
“That’s one of the key things. It’s not just about lacrosse, but about giving back. We are so fortunate that our girls can’t wait to see each other again.
“In our first tournament one of the parents gave us the best compliment. He said he had never seen a club team where everyone was so happy to pass the ball. We are blessed with unselfish players.”