By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/10/12
The highlight of Sunday’s second day of action in the 6th Annual Nick Colleluori classic at Ridley High just may have been when HEADstyrong Foundation President brought out Shane Franzone during her annual mid-day speech.
Franzone, a Norristown High product, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia two years ago, after playing in the 4th annual Colleluori Classic for Chestnut Hill College. For the next 18 months, Franzone battled the disease and spent much of his time in the hospital.
Finally, after a bone marrow transplant and the removal of one of his lungs, he endured and is now taking classes at Montgomery County Community College and fully recovered. (See fundraiser article last year).
Recaps on Philly D2-D3 teams in Sunday’s second day at the 6th Annual Nick Colleluori Classic
As a second-year program that took its licks (0-14) last year, Rosemont College was just looking for improvement when it opened its play Sunday.
And that’s what coach Brian Zusi saw from his squad in a 9-6 loss to Neumann.
“There was a BIG difference from last year,” he said. “For us to go 9-6 against a against a team like Neumann is really good for us.
“What I saw today was lightning years ahead of where we were (last year. I was ecstatic about what I saw.”
Zusi mentioned the performances of sophomore midfielder-FO Dean Grisoff (led nation in groundballs last year), freshmen attackmen Ralph Ebizem (Columbia, NJ) and Stephen Licata (Baltimore Lutheran) and freshmen goalies Brody Sefranek (Daniel Boone) and Chris Ryan (Roxbury, NJ).
“We had some little things go wrong, but we had a lot of things go right,” Zusi said.
Widener senior midfielder Ryan Eidenshink (La Salle) said the Pride seeks to return to the NCAA championships after seeing his team fall to Eastern in the Middle Atlantic Conference title game last year.
The biggest challenge may be the addition of powerful Stevenson to the MAC Commonwealth Conference.
“Stevenson is on our side, but everybody is working hard and staying on the sticks,” Eidenshink said. “We are confident in our abilities and we think we can take them.
“The keys for us are defense communication; staying in the hole and being where we need to be. We want the offense to run plays all the way through and have consistent stickwork, passing and catching while also finishing the chances we get.”
Eidenshink, who had 23 goals and 6 assists last year, said competing in the Nick Colleluori Classic was an honor.
“The HEADstrong Foundation is nationally recognized,” he said. “They have a spring high school tourney at Widener and this is just a great event. With the great amount of money they raise ($180,000 this year) for cancer research, they are saving lives and curing the battle with cancer.”
Neumann sophomore attackman Ryan O’Kane (Ridley) said the Knights are excited about their new beginning under rookie coach Cory Malampy, a former Widener standout and assistant coach.
“He brings a lot of excitement and experience,” said O’Kane, who had 30 goals and 10 assists last year. “He has brought in a lot of good recruits. We are definitely younger and faster.
“Our first game was sloppy; that was due to the weather. I think we have a shot to make the (Colonial States Athletic Conference) playoffs.”
O’Kane was pleased to make a Homecoming.
“It’s a good cause for a good foundation,” he said. “It’s gotten a lot bigger. Playing here brought back a lot of memories. It’s always a good time, I am happy to play here.”
Chestnut Hill College struggled in its opener, falling to Adelphi.
Senior goalie Dakota Maurer said the Griffins has the potential to make the East Coast Conference
“Our team goal is to make the playoffs,” said the Warwick High grad. “We haven’t done it yet. Coach (Brian Dougherty) did a good job recruiting talent; we basically have to come together as a team.
“On my end I have to try to get the defense together and transfer the ball to midfield. We have the talent talent.
“Today after the game I said to the guys that this was a textbook game of beating yourself. We made a bunch of mental errors that can be easily fixed.”