Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/30/19
Lou Harrison made his name as a lacrosse player not far from the crease. Whether at Ridley, where he graduated in 2014, or in four years at Ursinus College, Harrison always had soft hands around the goal that belied his imposing frame.
Friday afternoon, Harrison was having a little fun with his offensive game, showing the full range of his skills at the inaugural Rivalry Alumni Game.
Harrison scored four times, winning the most outstanding player award, as Ridley’s alums topped Springfield-Delco, 13-7, at Phil Marion Field.
The event, sponsored by HEADstrong Foundation, awarded the Nick Trophy, which commemorates a pair of alumni who succumbed to cancer: Ridley grad Nick Colleluori, who passed away 13 years ago Thursday, and Springfield grad Nick “Nacho” Baratelle. In their honor, Ridley wore No. 27 jerseys, Colleluori’s high school number, while Springfield wore the No. 14 of Baratelle. The uniforms included a patch in honor of Mike “Flake” Falasca, a former Ridley coach and player battling multiple myeloma.
The event, proceeds of which benefit the HEADstrong Foundation’s mission to aid families battling cancer, included the donation of 100 youth lacrosse sticks for boys and girls. Halftime awards were presented to longtime Springfield coach Sean Duffy and Ridley coach Joe Stranix, whose son Dan was one of nearly 100 graduates that played.
Harrison stole the show offensively. He scored twice in the first quarter, then added an effort while falling down as the horn sounded on the third, putting Ridley firmly in control with an 11-5 lead.
“It’s awesome,” Harrison said. “To get back on this field, lot of great memories on this field, a lot of great guys I was playing with. It was great to catch up with a lot of guys, and we’ve always had a good rivalry with Springfield.”
Harrison added the first tally of the fourth, from the right channel where he dodged a pole and snapped off a quick shot, a move that the 2018 Ursinus grad was glad to pull out of his arsenal.
“My legs will be feeling it in the next couple of days,” Harrison said. “Probably won’t be able to walk too good. But it was a good time. Just went out there, tried to play loose, have some fun.”
The game was played in four 20-minute quarters with running clock. Players under age 35 got the first quarter. Over-35s were in the second, and the two groups split the third before a final, anything-goes frame.
Ridley led 4-2 after one, with Harrison’s goals plus one from Cade Stratton and the first of Nick Fox’s two markers.
Springfield led briefly, with Steve Halko getting the opener. A close friend of the late Baratelle, Halko was used to wearing No. 14: It’s the number he got as an all-CSAC long-stick middie at Cabrini, and it took on added significance during his sophomore year when Baratelle was diagnosed with the rare brain cancer that took his life in July 2018.
“It was amazing to see the impact of 14,” Halko said. “My freshman year I was given 14, and I had no idea of the symbolism. It was a year and a half before Nacho’s diagnosis. Since then I wore it with pride and pushed through success and adversity with his help always.”
Ridley won the “old-timers” quarter, with Jason Kilpatrick and Andrew Cleghorn scoring. Marc Schaffer anchored the defense alongside Chris Bryan and Jack Morrison in front of goalie Matt Murray, the Green Raiders’ summoning the strength that powered three state titles in 1990s, including state-final victories over Springfield in 1994 and 1997.
“It’s really cool. Those are the guys that have the banners on the wall for Ridley,” Harrison said. “It’s really neat to see them still playing. I hope that I can carry on that tradition, me and my grade and the grades right around us.”
Kyle Bush scored twice for Ridley, and current Ridley coach Rory Friel also got on the board. Tommy McDermott and Frankie McCarthy made three saves each in goal.
Lucas Spence tallied a hat trick for Springfield. Greg Gurenlian and Kyle Sweeney notched goals in the over-35 quarter for the Cougars. Austin Kaut made four saves across two stints in goal.
With the sizeable turnout and level of community buy-in, there was hope from all sides that Friday’s event can become an annual staple.
“I think both teams represented Nick (Colleluori) pretty well,” Harrison said. “Just a really fun day.”