At the time of his graduation from Colonie High School,Dennis Foley was Section II’s career goals scoring record holder, having put the ball in the cage 151 times from 1992-1994. He was a 2x Empire State Games participant, earned High School All- America recognition, and played in the High School North-South Game. Following his graduation from Colonie HS, Foley attended Nazareth College, where he was named a Collegiate All-American, played in the College North-South Game, and was a key player on the 1997 Golden Flyers DIII National Championship team, which was inducted into the Nazareth Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Dennis recently took the time to talk to Capital District Lax regarding his experiences playing in Lake Placid with the Nazareth Alumni team – the Olden Flyers,
How were you introduced to lacrosse?
DF: I was bitten by the lacrosse bug in 6th grade while following my brother Mike’s Colonie High School lacrosse team claim the Section II championship in 1988. I was the ball boy the following year during his senior year. I could not wait to stop playing baseball and put on lacrosse pads which I was able to do the following year in 8th grade. I continued to follow my brother’s teams at HVCC, which had a lot of great local players and then eventually, RPI. During the summer I would tag along to Mohawk summer league games at UAlbany and go home trying to imitate all of the best players’ stick fakes and moves. I was a total lacrosse junkie and my brother was a great sport always letting me follow behind.
How many years have the Olden Flyers been playing in Lake Placid, and how did the team get its start?
DF: This will be the 6th year the Olden Flyers will compete in the Master’s II division in Lake Placid. The first year coincided with the 25 year anniversary of the Nazareth lacrosse program. A couple of Alumni, Bill Meagher and Brent Rothfuss, formed the team to celebrate the 25-year history. There was a great turn out, a title was won and a tradition was started.
Tell us a little about the team’s roster composition.
DF: Our roster includes guys from the founding 1986 team all the way through the early 2000’s. Many members were key players on the 1992, 1996 and 1997 National Championship teams. There is so much talent at the Lake Placid tournament and our team is no different. Multiple Player of the Year, Middie of the year, Defensemen of the year, Goalies of the year and All Americans are on the field at any given time. I am joined by Craig Devoe and PJ Rosecrans representing the Capital District.
The Olden Flyers won the event’s Men’s Masters: 2 division last year. Did that win give the team members some nostalgia back to Nazareth’s National Championship years?
DF: The past 6 years, Olden Flyers have played in the finals each year and have won 3 titles. The majority of the team has won a National Championship or played in one (Nazareth lost in the National Championship game in 1995, 1998 and 2004). There is a playful attitude of “we are here to win a title” each year. We typically face teams that represent a Division I powerhouse like Syracuse or Cornell in the finals, so there is some pride felt when a group of DIII guys from a tiny school in Rochester come together to beat these teams which are comprised of some of the greatest players the game has ever seen. A little case of David vs Goliath.
What do you think about the team’s chances to repeat this year, and how hard is that to do in a tournament like Lake Placid?
DF: We have won every other year so history is against us this year but I like our chances. There are so many incredible players and teams at Lake Placid that every game can go either way.
Other than Lake Placid, do the Olden Flyers play in any other events together?
DF: Unfortunately no. The majority of the guys still reside in New York but are spread out from Long Island to Buffalo. I am grateful to have this opportunity each year to see some great guys that I share some amazing memories with.
Any plans for the team to spend time together off the field in Lake Placid?
DF: The first day is always the best. Seeing everybody for the first time that I most likely haven’t seen since theprevious year. No soreness or injuries yet! There is always a moment on the field when I look up and the clouds are surrounding the Adirondack Mountains, the ski jump is off in the distance, my family is on the sidelines and I am playing the game that I have loved for so long. I stop and take it all in…hopefully it’s not during a fast break! A personal memory was a few years ago playing against Syracuse in the finals. Their roster was loaded with guys I watched as a kid on my worn out VHS tapes of the final four…lacrosse legends. Their defense was comprised of the big names from the late 80’s and early 90’s such as Ric Beardsley, Pat McCabe and Regy Thorpe. I scored the first goal of the game catching a pass behind the cage and splitting right to left against Pat McCabe and ending up one on one with the goalie. In all honesty, Pat McCabe slipped on the back of the cage when he was coming out to play me but I’ll take it! We won the game and received our coveted championship T-shirts. That is what makes Lake Placid so great – every player no matter who you are, gets to play against or watch some of the guys that they imagined themselves being or beating in the backyard as kids. You may even share a beverage with them later that night.
The Olden Flyers begin 2017 Lake Placid tourney play in the 35+ division against Harpoon on Thurs Aug 3 at 1:30PM on Field 4. For complete Olden Flyers 2017 LPSC schedule info visit: OLDEN FLYERS