’21 Derek Takacs Commits to Stony Brook

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Derek Takacs wasn’t necessarily looking to stay close to home, particularly with such a narrowed focus on his collegiate major.

The Empire 2021 and Mount Sinai attackman had his fair share of high-level schools vying for his services, but he quickly narrowed down his list because he knew that he wanted to study financial math, which, according to Takacs, is, “essentially applied math and statistics.”

Because of that singular focus, he cut his list down to a few schools that had that major, a list that included some of the very best colleges in the country. One of them was nearby Stony Brook, and the Seawolves also had a feather in their cap in the form of assistant coach Mike Chanenchuk Jr.. The PLL’s preeminent two-point shooter coached Takacs at a prospect day, where the two hit it off. It set the wheels of Takacs’ commitment in motion.

“Coach Channy coached me at a prospect day at Penn and really liked me, and he reached out to me to come and visit the school,” Takacs said. “Once I saw the campus, it definitely felt like the right fit. I felt it then and there, but I wanted to wait it out and see my options. After I talked to my parents about it, it seemed like it was where I wanted to go.”

That, coupled with the fact that Stony Brook boasts one of the top financial math programs in the country, made it a no-brainer for Takacs. He committed to the Seawolves, becoming the second Empire ’21 to commit and the fourth player in Empire history to choose Stony Brook. He’ll join ’20 Liam Daly (Shoreham-Wading River) on campus.

“One of the main things is that it’s one of the best colleges in the country for financial math,” Takacs said. “Between the lacrosse and the school, it was a perfect fit. I want to do something in the math field, like accounting, and I had a great connection with Channy. The school is a great fit for me and it’s an awesome atmosphere.”

Takacs’ elevation to a top-flight Division I prospect didn’t happen overnight, but it’s a credit to his work ethic and dedication that he got to this point. In his fifth season with Empire, Takacs has continually worked to diversify his offensive game and become a dynamic all-around threat, and that’s paid off in spades.

“Coach (HaroldDrumm and I are very happy for Derek and his family,” said Empire director Luke Daquino, who has coached Takacs at both Empire and Mount Sinai. “He has worked very hard in the classroom, as well as on the lacrosse field. He’s put in the time to become a player who can beat defenses in a variety of ways, and we think that he’ll fit in perfectly with (new Seawolves coach) Coach (Anthony) Gilardi‘s style. Derek is going to do great things on and off the field.”

A big part of that is thanks to the work that he put in with Drumm and Daquino.

“I feel like I definitely took a big step up with Empire,” Takacs said. “Coach Daquino is a great offensive coach, and he’s helped me with my shooting, passing, finishing and weak hand. He’s helped me become the player that I am today.”

One that’ll be making a major impact close to home.

’21 Julianna Loughran Commits to Sacred Heart

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It’s a relatively common goal, but not everyone has the talent, work ethic and determination to see it through from such a young age.

From the first time she played lacrosse as a first grader, Julianna Loughran envisioned herself playing college lacrosse at the highest level. Loughran knew from Day One that she wanted to play at the Division I level, and since then, everything has gone into realizing that dream.

She didn’t pass up on her opportunity to do just that. When she visited Sacred Heart, the Empire 2021 and Hauppauge attacker knew that she’d found the right place for her and that she could play at that level.

“I worked really hard to be a Division I athlete and I had the mindset to play Division I ever since I started lacrosse,” Loughran said. “Out of all of the schools that I visited, I truly felt the most comfortable at Sacred Heart, and I was really happy with the way that the coaching staff operated and with the team bonding.”

Loughran verballed to the Pioneers, becoming the second Empire ’21 to commit after Abby Wise (Plainedge / Quinnipiac) and she’s the first player in program history to select Sacred Heart.

Choosing Sacred Heart

“I picked Sacred Heart because I fell in love with the campus and I wanted to stay close to home so that my parents would be able to come and watch me play,” Loughran said. “It’s not a huge university, and I wanted to go to a school with a small campus, but not too small. I think the campus size and the majors that Sacred Heart offers really fit me well.”

A three-sport athlete who also runs cross-country and track, Loughran is a speedy attacker who can put a ton of strain on the defense with her explosiveness, agility and speed. She’s been a consistent finisher around the net for the Empire ’21s, but she also worked hard to diversify her game and become a more consistent all-around presence. That’s a major reason why she’s a Pioneer.

“Jules is a fast, lefty finisher who knows how to get to the net,” Empire girls’ director Sean Donnellan said. “She’s always striving to be the best and plays at 100 percent at all times. She’ll never shortchange you in the effort department and it’s really cool to see her persistence and dedication pay off with a Division I commitment. We’re incredibly proud of her and we know that she’ll be a major factor at Sacred Heart.”

It’s a testament to Loughran that she was so willing and comfortable to understand what she had to do to get to that next level. Ever since she joined Empire in fifth grade, she’s played a significant role in the team’s success, and as a result, her play has evolved.

“Empire is where I’ve been the most comfortable playing lacrosse,” Loughran said. “I just loved the way Sean coached, and the coaching and this team have made me a stronger player, especially when we won championships and did well at tournaments. Sean always told me how I could improve the player that I am, and that positive feedback and advice made me a stronger player. I’m a team player, and although it’s tough at times, I’m driven, and when I fall, I always come back stronger. I’m my own biggest competition.”

’21 Abby Wise Commits to Quinnipiac

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Abby Wise (highlights) started her lacrosse career on the defensive end, trying to prevent opponents from scoring. As her career has progressed, though, she’s found herself headed up the field.

Playing everywhere gave her a different vantage point, but she’s found the spot that she’s most comfortable with. The Empire 2021 and Plainedge attacker racked up 89 points last year, good enough for 12th on Long Island, and she showed a penchant for setting others up before scoring goals herself.
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