By Jean DePlacido
---- — Cousins Lauren DeLuca and Dave Patnaude used to be friendly rivals when DeLuca played lacrosse at Salem High while Patnaude suited up for arch rival Beverly High. Now they’re both wearing the Salem State University colors and captaining their respective squads.
“It’s kind of cool,” said DeLuca, a senior media production major who plays attack for the Lady Vikings. “We used to joke about the Salem-Beverly rivalry; now we try to support each other. Usually our games are right before theirs, so the guys stay to watch the first part of our game before getting ready to play.
“I didn’t go out for lacrosse my freshman year, but I missed it. I’ve been playing since I was a sophomore. We have a lot of good players who are multi-sport athletes, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm. Sherene Abu-Hijleh (from Peabody) was one of the ones that brought the program back and now she’s our assistant coach, which is nice.”
DeLuca has started all season and has 12 goals, 3 assists and 15 points, tied for third in scoring on the team. The squad picked up its second win of the season, coming from behind with an 11-goal output in the second half to beat Regis, 17-14. Head coach Tarra Sartori’s Lady Vikings are 2-6 on the season.
Patnaude is a senior business administration major. He plays midfield for head coach Trevor Eaton and does an excellent job on faceoffs. He has also scooped up 25 ground balls and has an assist. The men are 7-3 and hoping to go to the playoffs.
He began playing youth lacrosse when he was in the sixth grade and loves the sport.
“It’s a little weird that my cousin is also a captain, but it’s nice,” said Patnaude. “I try to get out there early when the women are playing to support them and visit with my family members. Between my mother, my aunt and other relatives, we always have a lot of family support.”
The goal for the Viking men is to make the Little East Tournament. They have a good shot and will play the final game of the regular season at Alumni Field under the lights against the University of Southern Maine on April 26.
“We had a real tough loss to Plymouth State recently, but I think our chances are very good,” said Patnaude. “We have a good team this year, with some solid young guys that have been contributing since Day 1. A few of them are from Billerica High School, which is always a very strong lacrosse program.”
After graduation, Patnaude wants to stay involved in lacrosse whenever he can and plans to play in some summer tournament with former Salem State players.
UMass Lowell baseball coach Ken Harring made it clear he wanted St. John’s Prep third baseman Tyler Noe to play for him and the River Hawks. Noe was very familiar with the school and team since his older brother Rob had played there.
“There were other schools interested, but the biggest factor in my decision was how much the coach wanted me,” said Noe, who lives in Lynnfield and played for Peabody West Little League before the family moved.
“I had been to the college and saw some games when my brother was playing. When I did an overnight visit I enjoyed everything about it. The most important thing was how much the coach felt I had a future there. It was comforting to me that he was really interested.”
Noe, who received a substantial athletic scholarship, wants to major in computer engineering. UMass-Lowell has a brand new engineering building, which appealed to Noe.
“I’m so excited they are going to be Division 1 next year,” he said. “It’s something they’ve been talking about for a long time, and now it’s finally happening. I’ll play for the Rams again over the summer, and next year I’m willing to play anywhere in the infield to help the team.”
Noe said UMass-Lowell was always at the top of his list. He visited Monmouth University in New Jersey. Villanova, Wheaton, and Stonehill were among the other schools interested. He thought he was going to be playing D-2 ball, and couldn’t be happier with the step up.
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.