Salem State Vikings vs. Fitchburg State Falcons
The Salem High Class of 2008 was well represented at Elliot Field in Fitchburg on Friday night as the Salem State University girl’s lacrosse team visited the Fitchburg State Falcons. The Vikings senior captain Lauren Deluca and FSU senior captain Kristin Dooley took the field together for the final time after sharing a long history both on and off the turf.
Friends since their days in the Salem Youth Soccer league, the two athletes were standouts on the lacrosse field for the Salem Witches from 2005 through their graduation in 2008 and again during their freshman year at Salem State in 2009. When Dooley transferred to Fitchburg State in the fall of 2009, the Salem State Girls Lacrosse team was still classified as a club team. Dooley never expected she would play against Deluca and her former team. However, in 2012 the Vikings joined the MASCAC conference leading to Friday’s matchup.
Shaking off some pregame nerves both girls had their game faces on as they led their teams onto the field. Dooley won the opening draw which resulted in an early goal for the Falcons. Throughout the first half the girls went stick to stick and shoulder to shoulder several times. In spite of the competition their friendship was always evident. Deluca worried when Dooley was checked to the turf, “When she (Dooley) went down I was the first to ask if she was ok.” And after Deluca found the net early in the second half Dooley sought her out calling it “the sickest goal of the game.”
When the dust settled the Vikings fell to the Falcons 12-10 in what was a close game from start to finish. As the teams were leaving the field, Deluca and Dooley sought each other out and embraced. The two former Witches were relieved to put the game behind them. Deluca, “She’s like a sister to me. We never wanted to play against each other.” Dooley echoed the sentiment, “she’s not a friend, she’s a sister. I’m glad that’s over!”
As the two girls move towards the final games of their senior season they will be in each other’s corner. Taking comfort in knowing their friendship can withstand the tests of competition, distance and time.