It takes a lot to change the culture of any athletic program. But recent Salem High graduates Alex Veloukas, Chad Coelho and Matt Willson have proven they’ve got a lot to give.
The trio helped the Witches boys’ lacrosse program grow substantially over the last few seasons. This year, the team had its best start and made the East Division 1 playoffs with their first winning season since 2009.
Now Veloukas, Coelho and Willson will look to bring the same impact to Mount Ida, where all three have committed to play college lacrosse next year.
“I went out there and looked at the campus. I enjoyed the small atmosphere and the campus was beautiful,” said Willson. “Knowing two people going in will help me a lot. I won’t be a loner; I can go out and eat with people.”
Willson was the first to get recruited by the Mustangs and all three visited together, but it was actually Veloukas who signed first. He suffered an injury in the early part of the high school season this spring, but said he’s ready to make the jump to the next level.
“I liked the winning tradition and the coach’s mindset. I was first to commit and when I found out (Coelho and Willson) were going too it made it even better,” said Veloukas. “I knew I made the right choice.”
Coelho, like Willson, appreciated the small atmosphere and, like Veloukas, looks forward to being a part of the winning tradition.
“I feel I could get some work done there. The lacrosse is competitive,” said Coelho. “It’s amazing. I’ve played with these guys for four-plus years, so to be able to play in college with them is what I really wanted.”
Salem’s first-year head coach, Anthony Nardella, who made a smooth transition at Salem after serving as an assistant at Beverly High, has been extremely impressed with this trio.