Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
The determination displayed by Steven DeNapoli throughout his Pride men’s lacrosse career earned him a jersey number for his senior season that gives him a constant reminder of someone who showed major relentlessness in and out of his Hofstra uniform.
DeNapoli wore number 7 for the first three years of his Pride career and was honored when this past summer he was asked by the Hofstra coaching staff to change to number 27 for his senior year. Twenty seven was the number worn by former Hofstra men’s lacrosse defenseman Nick Colleluori, whose life was cut short at the young age of 21 when he died after a courageous 14-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on Nov. 28, 2006.
Hofstra began a tradition last year where each season a player is selected to wear number 27 that best exemplifies Colleluori’s character on and off the field. DeNaopli never had the opportunity to know Colleluori but he is fully aware of the toughness he lived by on and off the field, and tries to live by those qualities as best he can.
“Nick has meant so much to this program its just honor and privilege to be considered for wearing it so I jumped on it,” said DeNapoli, who has served as a Pride captain since last year after earning All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) second-team honors in 2009. “All I can do is play my hardest and try to represent what Nick believed in.”
DeNapoli has been a huge reason for eighth-ranked Hofstra’s 11-1 start often serving as the point man during crucial late-game clearing situations. DeNapoli also leads the Pride in caused turnovers with 12 and in many instances is charged with defending one of the opposing team’s top offensive weapons. DeNapoli’s determination has also been evident when possession is up for grabs as the Hewlett High School product is second on the team in groundballs with 48.
DeNapoli and Hofstra are next in action for a crucial CAA game against UMass this Saturday in the ESPNU Warrior Classic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. DeNapoli and the other eight Pride seniors will then take the Shuart Stadium turf for their final regular season home game against Penn State on April 30 at 7 p.m.