By Julia Tiberio | 5/24/12 10:00 AM
Steven DeNapoli started playing lacrosse when he was eight years old and continued throughout high school where he was constantly bettering himself. After high school, although he was recruited by Massachusetts, Stony Brook and Albany, DeNapoli chose to play at Hofstra University. Hofstra was DeNapoli's first choice for as long as he could remember. "They were always a team I admired,'' he said. "I remember coming to watch the quarterfinals with my dad when I was young. They've always been a team I've paid attention to.''
Although he would not be receiving any type of scholarship from Hofstra to play, he was still determined to make an impact. In an article in Newsday, author Steven Marcus mentions how it was DeNapoli's goal was to play as a freshman. "[The coaches] said we don't see you stepping on the field for us in maybe your freshman and sophomore year,'' he said. "I proved them wrong. That's what I've been doing all my life. Knock on wood, I haven't missed a game  in my Hofstra career yet.'' DeNapoli started receiving athletic aid as a sophomore and said he has been on a full scholarship the last two years.
Quoted by Seth Tierney, DeNapoli’s head coach at Hofstra college, “Steven isn’t the most vocal guy around, but he’s one of the top lead-by-example guys I have ever coached. Everyone respects him because of how hard he works in practice, how much time he puts in off the field, and how well he plays on game day. On the field, he’s our heartbeat. He’s not the biggest guy, but he covers the opponent’s best midfielder, and never backs down. He has a will to win that’s unparalleled.” Steven has been quite the overlooked player but that has not stopped him from being as determined as he can and proving all of his fellow teammates and even his coach wrong.
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.
On the field, DeNapoli performed stalwartly for the Pride. He’s the type of player who liked to get between the lines, clear the zone, pick up ground balls, and make things happen in transition. As a junior, he led the team with 49 ground balls and was tied for second with 13 caused turnovers. He was name second team All-CAA as a sophomore, and was a member of the CAA All-Rookie team as a freshman.
The Rattlers acquired DeNapoli from the Chesapeake Bayhawksfor the rights to draftee Joe Cummings and an undisclosed draft pick in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Entry Draft in the offseason. DeNapoli had two transition goals at Chesapeake helping lead the Rattlers to a 12-8 win. Throughout the season’s three games so far, he has had four goals and eight groundballs.
“He’s been a big part of our squad this year.” Rochester Rattlers coach Tim Soudan said. “Not only has he been a key player defensively, but he’s also our second leading scorer with three transition goals.”
DeNapoli continues to impress us and will only get better from here on out.