“All three of these young men have left lasting contributions to the program,” explained Nardella. “Chad is one of the best offensive players to play at Salem, Matt Willson worked to become one of the top faceoff specialists around, and Alex was the vocal leader of the team both on and off the field.”
Bringing the attitude
The three Witches players share a lot of positive attributes — strong work ethics, passion for the sport and good leadership qualities. However, the Mount Ida lacrosse program will be getting three players with distinctively different strengths on the lacrosse field.
Veloukas isn’t only a piece capable of fitting in on a collegiate defense; the way he sees the game and his vocal nature make him a potential premiere player on the back end. A senior captain, Veloukas only played in seven games for the Witches before injuring his shoulder, yet remained a constant figure at practice and at games.
“Alex is one of the only kids I’ve had the pleasure of coaching that has every teammate’s utmost respect. He’s comfortable enough in his skin to get on his teammates, who might not be doing the right things both on and off the field,” said Nardella. “He really understands the game and has a great mind for defense.”
Sometimes, though, athleticism and IQ aren’t enough at the college level. So Veloukas is also bringing attitude with him.
“I think my hitting game is good. I finish my slides to let the offense know that if they’re going to score, they’re going to pay a price for it,” said Veloukas. “I’m very loyal to my defense. I want the offense to know every game is going to be a battle to the end no matter what.”
Battling has become a big part of Willson’s game as well. This year, he decided to take over the faceoff duties for the Witches — and no one was better in the Northeastern Conference. He won 65 percent of his draws and was named faceoff specialist of the year in the NEC South.