Before a preseason lacrosse scrimmage in Portland, an unnamed coach advised his players the strategy they should employ when trying to move the ball past Nicco DeLorenzo, a long-stick midfielder from Kennebunk.
“If you have the ball and number 2 is on you, pass it to someone else because he will take it away from you,” the coach counseled his players.
Some coaches may not know DeLorenzo’s name, but they know his number and they know exactly what he’s capable of doing.
“You talk to other coaches and they know him by his first name and they tell their players to stay away from him,” Kennebunk Coach Dan Seavey said.
Last season, DeLorenzo picked up 120 ground balls and forced 47 turnovers to lead the Rams in both categories.
Usually, long-stick middies step on the field when their team goes on defense and leave once their team has regained possession and has moved the ball out of their defensive zone, but DeLorenzo, who is unhampered by the midfield restraining line, has a tendency to stick around.
“We have him stay on the field during the offensive transition because he is a threat,” Seavey said. “He does have a good stick. We try not to use our long-stick midfielders on offense because it doesn’t make much sense. But he does stay on the field on offense until the ball is settled.”
During preseason, DeLorenzo handled draws and sometimes took the ball through heavy traffic to shoot on goal, rarities for players who use a long stick.
“I like to run around and cause havoc,” he said.
College scouts have encouraged him to play at both ends of the field, DeLorenzo said.
A junior, DeLorenzo has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Colgate University, in Hamilton, N.Y., a top Division I program in the lacrosse-rich Patriot League.
Colgate coaches noticed him last fall when DeLorenzo played for the Massachusetts-based New England Selects during a tournament at Harvard.
Last summer, DeLorenzo also made a strong showing at the highly-competitive Blue Chip Camp at Bryant College in Rhode Island.
“It made me realize that I had something going for me,” he said. “I had some talent and I had to work harder and hopefully get recognized.”
DeLorenzo started playing long-stick middie as a freshman in his first varsity season. Before that, he played defense.
“I’ve never used a short stick,” he said. “I started in seventh grade and started playing with a long pole.”
DeLorenzo had a lacrosse stick long before he was in the seventh grade.
“My father played so he started me playing lacrosse,” he said. His father, Dan DeLorenzo, played for Bridgewater State, a member of the Division III Little East Conference. “I grew up tossing a lacrosse ball with my father.”
At nearly 6-foot and 180 pounds, DeLorenzo is a formidable force on the field.
“With his size, he is very, very fast and athletic on his feet,” Seavey said. “He can run with the fastest kids on the field, plus he has the size to be physical, which makes him so much better.”
DeLorenzo also has a willingness to work hard to get even better, both on and off the field.
“Academically, I have to work harder because (Colgate is) a real good school,” he said. “I have to work harder on my game because it’s a high level of lacrosse. They want me to keep getting better, and I need to get better if I want to play (there). You get better at lacrosse the more you play, so I’ve got to keep going to camps and playing in tournaments.”
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: