JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse player Corey Lovrich lost his valiant fight against colon cancer and passed away overnight in New York, according to teammate Jake Ziegler.
Lovrich, 21, from Long Beach, N.Y., played two seasons with the Dolphins before being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in the spring of 2011.
After being diagnosed and treated, Lovrich battle the cancer which went into remission. Earlier this year, he was given permission to resume athletic training. He attended the early season Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic at EverBank Field and watch the Dolphins defeat Navy, 13-7. However, in recent weeks he became ill once again.
“This is a sad day and a terrible loss,’’ said former JU coach Matt Kerwick, now the associate head coach at Georgetown, who recruited Lovrich for the Dolphins.
Kerwick said he was in New York earlier this week and spoke to Lovrich just two days ago.
“He told me things weren’t looking great, but his spirits were high despite the terrible news from his doctor,’’ Kerwick said. “Things progressed in a bad way much quicker than anyone thought they would.’’ Kerwick said their last conversation wasn’t detailed to the new setback, but centered around other subjects including lacrosse.
Lovrich, a defenseman, was named captain and played in six games his sophomore season (2011) before being diagnosed. During the stretch he collected 16 ground balls and forced six turnovers and set a season high five ground balls against Robert Morris.
As a freshman, Lovrich started 11 games and had 23 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers. He finished that season strong by collecting 16 ground balls in the final five games.
“He came in and wasn’t supposed to play because he was recovering from knee surgery,’’ Kerwick said. “But he worked hard, got a chance to play and was one of our top players. He was a great leader and a great young man.’’
Ziegler, from Webster, N.Y., teamed with Lovrich at defense.
“He was a great friend and brought a smile to everyone’s face,’’ Ziegler, who played with Lovrich two years at JU, said. “He was happy-go-lucky, a hard worker and a good kid. He never strayed from the path. He was a good kid.’’
Lovrich had a fighting attitude and positive spirit despite the cancer and became an inspiration to many both inside lacrosse and beyond its borders.
“He was an inspiration,’’ Kerwick said. “People can take the lead with the way he lived his life the last year and a half. Despite his situation he had such a positive outlook. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents (Romano and Jeannette) and brother (Bryan).’’